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Summary: Chapter 562 of Texas’ Occupations Code requires that patients be notified when there are less expensive generic drugs that can be used in place of more expensive name-brand drugs. SB 190 would expand this chapter to allow “interchangeable biosimilar biological products,” (interchangeable biological product) to be substituted for more expensive name brand biological products prescribed by doctors.
The substitution of an interchangeable biological product for a biological product prescribed by a physician would be similar to the current practice that allows pharmacists to dispense generic drugs in place of a prescribed name brand drug.
Under current law, pharmacists must dispense the biological product that a doctor prescribes and pharmacists are unable to dispense a more affordable interchangeable biological product if one is available. SB 190 would enable pharmacies to dispense biological products that are interchangeable with the biological products prescribed by physicians, and it would require pharmacists to notify patients that these less expensive alternatives are available.
Analysis: SB 190 is good for patients and pharmacists in several ways. SB 190 would expand the types of biological products available for dispensation by pharmacists and use by patients. This will result in lower costs for patients that currently have no option but to purchase the biological product prescribed by a doctor, even if there is a more affordable interchangeable biological product available. SB 190 would require pharmacists to notify patients of these alternatives, with specific signage, and require pharmacists to comply with certain documentation requirements, such as notifying physicians if they dispense an interchangeable biological product.
SB 190 will enable pharmacists to prescribe interchangeable biological products that will expand choices save patients money. This would treat this category of medicine in a similar way as other prescription medications. We support SB 190.