AAM All Access Podcast - Dan Leonard interviews pharmaceutical industry veteran Bob Billings
Patients win when FDA-approved generics and biosimilars deliver savings on their medicines. Market-based competition drives prices down. But patient access to lower-cost medicines is increasingly at risk due to anti-competitive tactics, misguided policies and legislative proposals with unintended consequences. Meaningful action is needed to lower brand prescription drug costs while ensuring sustainable competition in the pharmaceutical sector. AAM’s Prescription for State Savings outlines several solutions states could pursue.
- Preserve Patient Access to the Medicines Driving Competition and Savings. The first step: Do no harm. The introduction of generic and biosimilar medicines significantly reduces the cost of prescription drugs. Competition from these lower-cost medicines resulted in more than $338 billion in savings in 2020. State proposals, however, often negatively impact generic and biosimilar manufacturers through one-size-fits-all policies or with onerous requirements that threaten continued patient savings.
- Combat Misinformation, Promote the use of Biosimilars. Biosimilar medicines are projected to save more than $130 billion in the next four years and increase patient access to these lifesaving medicines. But significant barriers to competition exist. Misinformation threatens to slow biosimilar use and undermine confidence in these FDA-approved medicines. States could make available and distribute FDA’s biosimilar materials, conduct studies on the savings to patients and payers derived from these new treatments, and help raise awareness about the use of biosimilar medicines.
- Ensure Coverage of Cost-Effective Biosimilar Medicines. While biosimilar medicines offer savings of more than 40 percent on average, these new treatments are not always covered or made available to patients. Moreover, physicians are often incentivized to use higher-cost brand-name biologics over the more cost-effective biosimilar. States could take steps to encourage the coverage and use of biosimilar medicines by addressing payer and provider barriers.
- Lower Patient Out-of-Pocket Costs with Generics on Generic Tiers. Generic medicines can only provide significant savings for patients if they are covered on the appropriate formulary tier. However, too often, patients are unable to access newly approved generic medicines or are paying higher out-of-pocket costs due to benefit design. Ensuring coverage of newly available generic medicines and proper formulary tier coverage would reduce patient cost-sharing.
- Advance New Tax and Other Financial Incentives to Enhance U.S.-Based Manufacturing. Approximately 70 billion doses are manufactured annually in the U.S at nearly 150 facilities by more than 52,000 employees. State-based tax incentives and economic development grants could be provided to support domestic manufacturing and help ensure patients have access to a secure and consistent supply of critical medicines.
Together, these policies would increase competition, lower patient out-of-pocket costs and reduce spending on prescription drugs.
Share Your Voice
Billions in patient savings are possible with the Prescription for State Savings. Now is the time to deliver those savings to patients. Contact your lawmaker now and urge them to protect your savings from generic and biosimilar medicines!