WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Maggie Hassan (D-NH) and Bill Cassidy, MD (R-LA) are reintroducing bipartisan legislation to enhance education about biosimilar drug products in an effort to increase competition and lower the cost of biologic medicines.
Biologics are complex products that may be used to treat serious or chronic conditions, such as diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and certain cancers. Biosimilars are highly similar to and have no clinically meaningful differences from brand biologic drugs, but are manufactured by different companies. Independent studies have estimated that biologics could save Americans potentially $54 billion over 10 years in health care costs.
“Biosimiliars can be an affordable option to help treat life-threatening diseases – but even as far too many struggle to pay for expensive prescription medications, many people don’t know about their biosimilar options,” Senator Hassan said. “I am glad to team up with Senator Cassidy to reintroduce this commonsense legislation to educate more Granite Staters and Americans about this affordable alternative to brand biologics and help reduce health care costs. I will continue to work with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to lower the high costs of prescription drugs and improve access to high-quality health care.”
“Americans are still paying too much for prescriptions. Biosimilar medications are highly similar and have no clinically meaningful differences from name brands, but they can be just a fraction of the cost,” Dr. Cassidy said. “This legislation works to improve awareness of these products to increase uptake and lower costs.”
The Senators’ bipartisan legislation would provide educational materials to patients and providers to help improve confidence in the safety and effectiveness of these FDA-approved products. Improved confidence in biosimilars could lead to increased use, which in turn could increase health care savings.
Senators Hassan and Cassidy have previously worked together to help lower the cost of health care, and recently led successful efforts to include a provision in the year-end package that was signed into law to help end the absurd practice of surprise medical billing.