The country's embryonic biosimilars industry scored a victory last month as the organization that runs the pension fund for California state employees announced its opposition to a state Senate bill provision that would impose special requirements on pharmacists who dispense follow-on biologics.
Last month, the board of the California Public Employees' Retirement System, also known as CalPERS, voted to oppose a provision in Senate Bill 598 that would require pharmacists to notify prescribers and patients if they have substituted a biosimilar, and also forbid them to substitute biosimilars if prescribers indicate "Do not substitute" on prescriptions. However, the bill contains a sunset clause and only applies to prescriptions made before 2017; at press time, both houses of the state legislature had passed it, and it was awaiting reconciliation and a signature or veto by Gov. Jerry Brown.
The provision, sponsored by Amgen and Genentech, is similar to legislation that has popped up in several states around the country as the Food and Drug Administration works on regulations on biosimilars, as mandated by amendments to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010. The Illinois state legislature defeated a similar bill in June, while Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell signed that state's bill into law in March.