Biological drug bill advances to full Senate

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

The Indiana Senate is set to consider legislation that could give patients access to more options for drug treatments that derive from biological organisms.

The drugs in question – which are expected to be interchangeable with brand-name options – are not yet on the market. But supporters of the bill say they could be soon and they want Hoosiers to be able to get them.

Biological drugs are usually injectable and they’re expensive. Biological means that the drugs come from living organisms. They treat an array of diseases including cancer, Lupus and diabetes.

Some drug makers have been working on what’s called “interchangeable” biological options. Company officials say they will not be generics but will serve a similar function and have the same therapeutic outcomes as their brand name counterparts.

Senate Bill 262 creates what supporters say is a “pathway” to let Hoosiers have access to the interchangeable drugs – when they become available. Indiana could be among first states to make that possible.

The Senate Public Health & Provider Services Committee passed the bill Wednesday and it moved to the full Senate for consideration.

But with the regulation of interchangeable drugs comes new rules for the pharmacists, who would be able to choose whether to give patients the brand-name biological drug or substitute it with an interchangeable. The bill would require those pharmacists to notify doctors within 10 days of how the prescription is filled.

“The relationship between doctor and patient is important. Doctors must carefully monitor patients’ medication,” said Carla Day, a spokeswoman for the Lupus Foundation. Day has Lupus and sometime takes between five and 20 medications a day. She said she’d want her to doctor to know if there was a change.

The General Assembly has considered legislation about biological drugs in the past, but the bills have never passed, in part because of strong opposition from a variety of companies. But now, some drug companies that had opposed the bill support it because of the way doctors must be notified about the way the prescriptions are filled.

Sandoz, a generic pharmaceutical firm, was one of those companies. That’s because the previous bills only would have required doctor notification if the pharmacist used an interchangeable drug. But the bill under consideration now requires notification whenever an interchangeable is available – regardless of whether it is dispensed.

That provision is meant to ensure that pharmacists don’t discriminate against the interchangeables to avoid the notification process.

But Express Scripts, the largest pharmacy benefits manager in the nation, had other ideas about the notification.

“Express Scripts opposes prescriber notification as it as an unnecessary step and will dissuade physicians from even allowing substitution,” said a company spokeswoman, Allyson Blandsord.

But it was Sen. Brandt Hershman, R-Buck Creek, that ended the discussion before the bill passed: “Wouldn’t you want your doctor to know?” she asked.


Post a comment to this story

We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
Subscribe to IBJ
  1. If what you stated is true, then this article is entirely inaccurate. "State sells bonds" is same as "State borrows money". Supposedly the company will "pay for them". But since we are paying the company, we are still paying for this road with borrowed money, even though the state has $2 billion in the bank.

  2. Andrew hit the nail on the head. AMTRAK provides terrible service and that is why the state has found a contractor to improve the service. More trips, on-time performance, better times, cleanliness and adequate or better restrooms. WI-FI and food service will also be provided. Transit from outlying areas will also be provided. I wouldn't take it the way it is but with the above services and marketing of the service,ridership will improve and more folks will explore Indy and may even want to move here.

  3. They could take the property using eminent domain and save money by not paying the church or building a soccer field and a new driveway. Ctrwd has monthly meetings open to all customers of the district. The meetings are listed and if the customers really cared that much they would show. Ctrwd works hard in every way they can to make sure the customer is put first. Overflows damage the surrounding environment and cost a lot of money every year. There have been many upgrades done through the years to help not send flow to Carmel. Even with the upgrades ctrwd cannot always keep up. I understand how a storage tank could be an eye sore, but has anyone thought to look at other lift stations or storage tanks. Most lift stations are right in the middle of neighborhoods. Some close to schools and soccer fields, and some right in back yards, or at least next to a back yard. We all have to work together to come up with a proper solution. The proposed solution by ctrwd is the best one offered so far.

  4. Fox has comments from several people that seem to have some inside information. I would refer to their website. Changed my whole opionion of this story.

  5. This place is great! I'm piggy backing and saying the Cobb salad is great. But the ribs are awesome. $6.49 for ribs and 2 sides?! They're delicious. If you work downtown, head over there.