Congress considers multiple solutions for biosimilar legislation

WASHINGTON A new initiative to improve access to health care in Congress may bring up an old issue, follow-on biologics, and now may actually get it approved.

Reps. Allyson Schwartz, D-Pa., Lois Capps, D-Calif., and Jason Altmire, D-Pa., are leading the initiative, which also includes implementing eprescribing. The lawmakers are involved with the three House committees including the Energy and Commerce Committee, where follow-on biologics legislation has been introduced.

House lawmakers are considering multiple bills, including California Democrat Rep. Henry Waxman’s Access to Life-Saving Medicine Act, H.R. 1038, which would let the FDA approve biosimilars as compatible with biologics, and Washington Democrat Rep. Jay Inslee’s Patient Protection and Innovative Biologic Medicines Act, H.R. 1956, which would not let biosimilars be deemed interchangeable.

A spokeswoman for Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman John Dingell, D-Mich., said the committee has not yet finalized its agenda for this session but noted that the committee is expected to address the issue of biosimilars in the near future.

Similarly, a spokesman for Rep. Frank Pallone, D-N.J., chairman of the House Health Subcommittee, said Pallone continues to work with committee members to reach a consensus on follow-on biologics legislation.

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