The Center for Biosimilars® spoke with Kashyap B. Patel, MD, about his work in promoting biosimilar uptake and his upcoming book on the importance of living life and not fearing death.
Kashyap B. Patel, MD, is a huge advocate for increased biosimilar utilization and education in the United States and dedicates much of his energy to fight for those causes.
The oncologist, researcher, speaker, business owner, educator, and author has been a huge proponent of biosimilars since these therapies arrive in the market. He took early action at his practice, Carolina Blood and Cancer Care in Rock Hill, South Carolina, to ensure education for his own employees and patients to increase utilization of biosimilars to lower the cost of care.
“As a responsible practice, particularly as a value-based care and clinical model practice, we have an obligation and also an inspiration to address the cost of care, particularly with the rising price of Part B drugs,” said Patel in an interview with The Center for Biosimilars®.
Patel’s extensive resume includes being the CEO of Carolina Blood and Cancer Care, vice president of the Community Oncology Alliance (COA) and chairman of COA’s Biosimilars Committee. He also helped International Oncology Network (ION) Solutions develop its own biosimilar committee. ION is a group purchasing organization to which Patel belongs.
He is also an advisory board member with The Center for Biosimilars®.
Patel spoke about his long fight for biosimilar uptake, issues within the industry, and his upcoming book, Between Life and Death, to be released on August 1.
Patel’s Regulatory Fight for Biosimilars
Through COA, ION, and his own efforts, Patel is heavily involved in advocating for biosimilar legislation at the federal level, reaching out to congressional committees, CMS, and the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (CMMI).
“We have gone multiple times to the White House, Congress, and commercial payers to help them understand that opening up their coverage policies, without any restriction and essentially providing parity of coverage for biosimilars, in the long run will benefit the health care system and the patients,” he said.
Patel said that it is very important for biosimilars in the United States to achieve parity of coverage within commercial and some state Medicaid plans, which he said have a perverse incentive to not use biosimilars because of rebates.
He expressed worry for the fate of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and the Biologics Price Competition and Innovation Act, both of which could be struck down in upcoming Supreme Court deliberations over the constitutionality of the individual mandate portion of the ACA, which requires individuals to obtain coverage.
Patel also said he’s concerned about patent thickets that prevent biosimilar makers from challenging the market share of originator companies. Patel said that 20% of patients in the United States are underinsured or uninsured and have difficulties affording medicine.
“It's really ridiculous to see…and it's about time that someone looks at the techniques used by the attorneys and the manufacturers to extend patents which eventually hurt society as a whole,” Patel said.
Patel’s Organizational Work
With help from Patel, COA’s biosimilars committee drafted and released a consensus statement in 2019 saying that it would work with stakeholders to support the acceptance of biosimilars and close knowledge gaps.
In addition, Patel said that COA’s biosimilars committee looked into the progressive increase in biosimilar savings and the analytics for further savings for Medicare and commercial payers if they added biosimilars to their formularies.
“We were able to show that by 2021, as part of the Oncology Care Model, we’ll be saving about 10% to 15% of the total cost of care by adding biosimilars because the average sales price of biosimilars has declined over the last 4 years by about 35%, which translates into significant savings to all the insurance companies, payers, CMS, and CMMI,” said Patel.
Patel is a keynote speaker at many of ION’s national meetings, encouraging and educating physicians through targeted education programs.
Insights Into Patel’s New Book
His new nonfiction novel, Between Life and Death, follows Patel as he treats a vivacious patient, Harry, who’s diagnosed with terminal lung cancer. Patel accompanies Harry on his journey in preparing himself and his loved ones for his death.
“I was quite impressed to see that he was not afraid of death at all, but I could also see that he wanted to make sure that death does not become a stain on the lasting memory for his family….It was more about how gracefully he could leave this world without taking chemotherapy,” said Patel.