A Senate bill that seeks to establish a shared savings model to help increase access and encourage physician use of biosimilars was introduced.
Earlier this week, a pair of bipartisan senators introduced S 4134, a bill that aims to lower health care costs and increase access to biosimilars by instructing CMS to develop a shared savings model for biosimilars.
S 4134, the Increasing Access to Biosimilars Act of 2020, is co-sponsored by Senators John Cornyn, R-Texas, and Michael Bennet, D-Colorado, and was referred to the Committee on Finance.
“Seniors have been hit hard by skyrocketing costs for the prescription drugs they need....This legislation would encourage competition by promoting the use of biosimilars, which have a lower out-of-pocket cost but provide the same potentially lifesaving benefits," said Cornyn in a statement.
“Prescription drug costs have drastically increased in recent years, placing a major financial burden on seniors, minority communities, and millions of Americans living on fixed incomes who require their prescribed medication to live their life,” added Bennet. “This bipartisan legislation would share lower-cost biosimilars with patients, saving them and our health care system billions of dollars.”
Shared savings is a payment strategy that offers providers a percentage of any net savings realized to encourage them to reduce health care spending for a defined patient population.
The Biosimilars Forum, an advocate of the bill, said "as the coronavirus crisis continues to be an economic strain on the federal government and our health care system, this commonsense, cost-saving policy is a win-win for the government and U.S. taxpayers — providing significant health care cost savings across the system."
Biosimilar manufacturer Mylan also supports the new legislation.
The bill is a companion to HR 6179, which was introduced in Congress in March.
Another bill introduced in March was S 3466, which would allow $0 co-pays for seniors prescribed biosimilars under Medicare Part B.
S 3466 was introduced in the Senate by Sens Martha McSally, R-Arizona, and Doug Jones, D-Alabama, and would waive all out-of-pocket expenses for biosimilar products for beneficiaries of Medicare Part B programs. The waiver would apply for the first 5 years that a biosimilar is on the market. This Senate legislation has a companion bill that was introduced in the House in October 2019.
A poll released earlier this year said that Americans support the idea of shared savings, but the same poll noted that most Americans (65%) still do not know what biosimilars are.