TALLAHASSEE, Fla., April 3, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Lupus Foundation of Florida applauds the Health Policy committee of the Florida Senate for the passage of Senate Bill 732 out of committee. The legislation will allow biologic medicines to be automatically substituted with interchangeable biosimilar medicines by pharmacists. It would also ensure doctors are made aware of product substitution and ensure records of biosimilar substitution are kept for a reasonable amount of time.
"As a patient advocate, I overwhelmingly support this bill, which sets guidelines for safely introducing biosimilar drugs into the Florida pharmaceutical market," said Linda Reucher, Program Director of The Lupus Foundation of Florida. "Senator Grimsley's bill supports transparency of our healthcare system and provides the most vulnerable Floridians – the elderly and chronically ill – affordable access to these life-changing medications. The bill will also ensure that doctors and their patients have the most accurate information available, which ensures the highest standard of medical care."
The Food and Drug Administration will likely approve biosimilars in the next year or two and they will soon be made available to patients. Setting up a framework for patients to access biosimilars at pharmacy counters and ensuring the safe substitution and tracking of these highly complex products now – rather than down the road – makes sense.
As the name indicates biosimilars are similar, though not exact copies of their reference biologic product, and so even miniscule changes between a biologic and its biosimilar products might affect lupus patients and other patients taking biologic medicines.
There are approximately 1.5 million Americans with lupus and 90,000 in the state of Florida. When lupus fails to respond to traditional treatment methods, lupus patients may be prescribed biologics, particularly Rituxan and Benlysta. This is quite common in lupus nephritis which affects about half of all lupus patients.
About the Lupus Foundation of Florida
Since 1979, the Lupus Foundation of Florida has been serving Floridians affected by lupus. We are part of the Lupus Research Institute National Coalition whose funding of novel research brings the day closer when we can say, there is "Life without Lupus." Visit our website at www.lupusflorida.org.
SOURCE Lupus Foundation of Florida