Reps. Peters, King, Brindisi Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Make Cost-Effective Biosimilar Drugs More Accessible
October 1, 2019
Today, Reps. Scott Peters (CA-52), Pete King (NY-02), and Anthony Brindisi (NY-22) introduced the bipartisan Acting to Cancel Copays and Ensure Substantial Savings for Biosimilars (ACCESS) Act, which would eliminate a patient’s copay for a biosimilar if they normally would pay full cost of a biologic drug under Medicare Part B. The bill will drive down medical costs by increasing access to lower-cost biosimilar drugs and give Americans more treatment options.
Like generic drugs, biosimilars offer a lower-cost opportunity to treat expensive diseases and illnesses. They are some of the most innovative physician-administered drugs and are successfully treating complex diseases like cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s disease, and ulcerative colitis. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) deemed approved biosimilars to be as safe and effective as their biologic counterparts, but many are still not available to Americans.
In Europe, more than 40 biosimilar products are available. The Congressional Research Service reports that while less than 2 percent of Americans use biologics, they account for 40 percent of total spending on prescription drugs. The RAND Corporation estimates biosimilars could save the United States as much as $54 billion over the next decade. The ACCESS Act advances the goals of the Biologics Price Competition and Innovation Act (BPCIA), which Congress passed in 2010 to provide a new regulatory pathway to license and approve biosimilars.
“San Diego is home to a world-class life science sector that is uncovering new ways to improve and save lives. The government can and should drive down drug costs and one way we can do that is by increasing competition. If we eliminate copays on biosimilars, it will increase their widespread use and provide a market incentive to drive down overall drug costs. I am committed to lowering health care costs and expanding treatment options for all Americans, and the bipartisan ACCESS Act does just that,” said Rep. Scott Peters.
“This legislation represents an important step toward containing drug prices for some of the most expensive therapies. By increasing patient access and encouraging development of more biosimilars this legislation would save Medicare beneficiaries and taxpayers billions of dollars,” said Rep. Pete King.
“Every day I hear from Upstate New Yorkers who cannot afford the medication they need, and it is way past time for Democrats and Republicans to take action. Our bill will eliminate out of pocket costs for millions of seniors. I am proud to work with Rep. Peters and Rep. King on this legislation to help increase competition and bring drug costs down for seniors and working families,” said Rep. Anthony Brindisi.
Rep. Peters has called for smart changes to the Affordable Care Act, maintaining access to life-saving diagnostic services, and lowering premiums. He continues to seek bipartisan solutions to expand access to health care.