State Senate gives first round approval to biosimilars bill

The Missouri Senate Wednesday gave first round approval to a bill that allows pharmacists to fill a prescription for a biologic product with a less expensive interchangeable biological product if the prescribing physician and patient okay the substitution.

Senate Bill 875 allows for FDA certified “biosimilars” to be used to hold down the cost of biological prescriptions. Biosimilars are described as almost an identical copy of an original biological product that is manufactured by a different company. So far, they are rare in the United States, but the field is growing at a rapid pace.

The bill mandates that the state Board of Pharmacy maintain a link on its website to a current list of all biological products determined by the FDA to be interchangeable with a specific biological product.

The bill, sponsored by Sen. Kurt Schaefer (R-Columbia), faces a final vote in the Senate before moving on to the House for consideration.