Biosimilars Forum to Congress: Incentivize Biosimilars in Build Back Better Act

Forum Sent Letter to Capitol Hill Leadership Identifying Biosimilars as a Solution to the Problem of Rising Drug Costs

The Biosimilars Forum sent a letter to House and Senate leadership urging Congress to incentivize biosimilars in the Build Better Back Act to help lower prescription drug costs for Americans.

Theletter highlights the need for commonsense, bipartisan policy to expand biosimilar access, increase competition and lower the costs for prescription drugs in America.

Since the first biosimilar was made available to U.S. patients in 2015, 31 biosimilars have been approved by the FDA and 20 are on the market.  As the next generation of generic medicines, biosimilars cost on average 30 percent less than reference biologics, which account for 40 percent of all drug spending.

Unlike generic drugs, which are available to 90 percent of patients, biosimilars are only available to 20 percent of the patients who need them. This must change if patients are to realize the full savings potential of biosimilars.

“As the Build Back Better Act package is developed, Congress cannot take a step backwards by harming the biosimilars market with policies that reduce competition,” said Meaghan R. Smith, executive director of the Biosimilars Forum. “Instead, Americans deserve a commitment from our lawmakers to remove anti-competitive barriers to biosimilar uptake and minimize disincentives, which together will promote access and lower prices.”

Specifically, the Forum supports increasing the add-on fee physicians receive when prescribing a biosimilar from 6% over the Average Sales Price (ASP) to 8% and sharing savings with physicians who prescribe biosimilars under Medicare Part B. Together, these measures would encourage physicians to prescribe lower-cost, safe, and effective biosimilars to more patients who need them.

Additionally, the Forum encourages policies that will reduce beneficiaries’ out-of-pocket costs for biosimilars to provide immediate savings to seniors and long-term savings to Medicare. The Forum also supports adding a new quality measure in the Medicare Advantage (MA) and Part D Star Rating system to include assessments of plan benefit and formulary designs in encouraging patient access to biosimilars.

Support for biosimilars continues to grow on Capitol Hill and in the Biden Administration. Several months ago, President Biden issued an Executive Order directing the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to take steps to promote biosimilar competition, and bipartisan legislation in the House and Senate continues to build momentum.