Congressman Buddy Carter is "All In" on Biosimilars

At the National Policy and Advocacy Summit on Biologics and Biosimilars, held in Washington, DC, on April 17, Earl “Buddy” Carter, Republican Congressman for Georgia’s first legislative district, highlighted his work to control the price of drugs for patients.
 
The Center for Biosimilars Staff
April 19, 2018
At the National Policy and Advocacy Summit on Biologics and Biosimilars, held in Washington, DC, on April 17, Earl “Buddy” Carter, Republican Congressman for Georgia’s first legislative district, highlighted his work to control the price of drugs for patients.

Carter discussed a piece of legislation that he is sponsoring: HR 5343, or the Prescription Transparency Act of 2018, which was introduced to the House of Representatives on March 20, 2018. The bill seeks to amend the Public Health Service Act to nullify pharmacy benefit managers’ (PBMs’) contractual provisions that prohibit pharmacists from telling consumers whether they could save money by paying for a prescription in cash rather than through their insurance plans.

Carter, a pharmacist himself, took PBMs to task for such provisions, which he termed “gag clauses.”

“We’re subject to penalties or being kicked out of the network” for telling patients about ways to save on their prescriptions. “Now how absurd is that? My legislation says that gag clauses will no longer be valid. It’s as simple as that,” said Carter.

He added that he is skeptical of PBMs in general: “I’m not against anybody making money…however, you cannot show me, and you cannot convince me…that [PBMs] bringing any value whatsoever to the system…if you talk to a PBM, and you ask what their mission is…[they would say that it is] to control prescription drug prices. Well, how is that working out for you?”

Carter emphasized the fact that the high cost of drugs is a nonpartisan problem that affects all Americans, and that innovative therapies, like high-cost drugs that target hepatitis C, are only useful to patients if they can afford them.

To that end, Carter says, biosimilars represent a critical opportunity for the US healthcare system to make drugs more accessible for patients who need them. For over 30 years in his pharmacy, Carter said, he would have patients come to his counter in tears because they couldn’t afford their medication, and biosimilars offer an important option for creating in price competition to bring down costs and increase access, which Carter called “the best thing we can do for our healthcare system.”

“[Biosimilars are] the wave of the future, and we understand that in pharmacy,” said Carter. “I’m all in.”

Carter also encouraged healthcare providers to engage with their representatives and raise awareness of the issues that impact individual practices. He urged practitioners to invite their congressional representatives to their practice settings to let them see the value of their work and the challenges they face in delivering care.

 

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