Washington Joins States Allowing Biosimilar Substitution

May 21, 2015

Washington State Gov. Jay Inslee has signed legislation allowing pharmacists to substitute biosimilars for brandname biologics, joining a growing list of states that have passed such laws. 

The state’s Senate passed the measure in April by a near-unanimous vote of 47-1, following a 96-1 vote in the House.

It requires pharmacists to switch patients to less-expensive interchangeable biological products if the prescription is marked “substitution permitted” and the patient doesn’t object.

11 other states also have enacted biosimilar substitution laws: Tennessee, Massachusetts, Delaware, Florida, North Dakota, Utah, Indiana, Oregon, Virginia, Colorado and Georgia.

Lawmakers in North Carolina also have passed a biosimilar substitution bill, but it hasn’t been signed into law. Similar measures are progressing in eight states. Bills in Pennsylvania and New Jersey passed the Senate and General Assembly last week, and a Texas bill is pending in a House/Senate conference committee.

While BIO generally supports biosimilars substitution, the group has objected to proposals in Michigan and Vermont because they don’t include pharmacy/prescriber communications and wouldn’t allow substitution of biosimilars that are specifically declared interchangeable by the FDA.

Read Washington’s bill here: www.fdanews.com/05-15-Washington-Bill.pdf. — Jonathon Shacat