A bill allowing pharmacists to substitute biologically similar products, or “biosimilars,” for any biological product prescribed by a physician has been signed into law by Ohio Governor John Kasich.
This will reduce the cost burden on patients as biosimilars are a similar concept to obtaining a cheaper generic prescription. The biosimilar can replace a biologic only if the FDA has deemed the biologic “interchangeable.”
Biologics are complex and difficult and costly to duplicate precisely. They can also cost $1,000 to $10,000 per month to treat life threatening diseases such as cancer, diabetes and MS. According to bill sponsors quoted in this article, by allowing a biosimilar to be provided by the pharmacists, it can cost the consumer 20 to 30 percent less than their corresponding brand name biologic.