WIFR: Kinzinger introduces bill to lower drug costs for patients
ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - Congressmen Adam Kinzinger (IL-16) introduced H.R. 2815, the Bolstering Innovative Options to Save Immediately on Medicines Act.
Kinzinger claims this bill would increase reimbursements for biosimilar drugs, boosting their utilization by doctors and result in lower cost-sharing for patients.
“One of the most consistent issues I hear about from my constituents is the rising cost of prescription drugs, and the impact those costs have on them and their family. We have a duty to ensure patients are receiving the most affordable option available and that our policies encourage competition to drive prices down,” Congressman Kinzinger said. “The BIOSIM Act aims to lower prices by increasing the utilization of a more affordable alternative to biologics – called biosimilars. As biosimilar utilization goes up, prices for patients will go down.”
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved biosimilars are drugs that work in the same way, at the same dose with a slightly different substance than an FDA-approved biologic, which is known as the reference product. Biosimilars highly resemble the reference product because there are no clinically meaningful differences, utilizing the same pathway for treatment, and biosimilars must also undergo rigorous FDA testing standards, according to the announcement from Kinzinger’s office.
These drugs are injected or infused rather than taken in pill-form, which generally requires administration in a provider’s office. Common uses for both biosimilars and biologics include treatment for cancer and rare diseases, according to the announcement from Kinzinger’s office.
While the two products are decidedly alike, the main difference between biosimilars and biologics surrounds price: biosimilars are newer, low-cost alternatives to biologics, which are generally among the most expensive drugs on the market. Despite this difference, the use of biosimilars in the U.S. has remained much smaller than their share of the marketplace.
The BIOSIM Act aims to close this financial gap by temporarily increasing the reimbursement for biosimilar drugs from the average sales price of the drug, plus 6 percent to the ASP of the drug plus 8 percent for five years to help increase their usage by doctors. Currently, Medicare patients pay a 20 percent coinsurance on Part B drugs, which includes both biologics and biosimilars.
The full text of H.R. 2815, the Bolstering Innovative Options to Save Immediately on Medicines Act can be found attached and online here. Kurt Schrader (OR-05), co-introduced the bill with Kinzinger.
“There is no doubt the BIOSIM ACT is a win-win, saving big money for patients and our government,” Congressman Schrader (D-OR) said. “Biosimilars have long struggled to gain traction in the market, but by incentivizing the use of the lower cost product, they will finally compete with high-cost biologics. This would mean costs for the healthcare system, government and patients – especially seniors – would all go down as we transition to a greater use of these lower cost biosimilar drugs.”
Most of the U.S. Government’s spending on drugs in Medicare is on these expensive drugs, but by incentivizing a substantial increase in these similar alternatives, patient cost-sharing and government spending will decrease. An example of this can be seen in Europe, where biosimilars have replaced expensive biologics, as often as 90 percent of the time in some cases, according to the announcement from Kinzinger’s office.