Maryland state legislature shelves biosimilars legislation

Bill would limit ability of pharmacists to substitute biosimilars for branded biotech drugs

WASHINGTON — Legislation designed to limit the use of biosimilars has met defeat in Maryland.

The legislation, which would limit the ability of pharmacists to substitute follow-on biologics for branded biotech drugs, failed to go forward in the state legislature. Last month, Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell signed a similar bill into law, but the bill contained a sunset clause that will cause it to expire after five years, while the Florida Senate Committee on Health Policy passed a similar bill, also with a sunset clause. So far, North Dakota is the only state to pass such a bill intact.

"We applaud the Maryland state legislature for making this wise decision," Generic Pharmaceutical Association president and CEO Ralph Neas said. "After hours of testimony, members of the House were convinced that now is not the time to take action."

Similar legislation has also met rejection in the state legislatures of Arizona, Mississippi and Washington.

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