Shame on the National Coalition on Health Care. The NCHC is foolishly calling on the FDA not to insist that biosimilars carry different names than their innovator precursors. Joining the NCHC are the AARP, AFL-CIO, the American Federation of Federal, State, County and Municipal Employees, Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, California Public Employees Retirement System, and Service Employees International Union.
Why do these well-intentioned groups (including the Blues and the AARP – two of our nation’s biggest payer organizations) feel the urgency to remove an important level of safety and … knowledge for physicians (who write the prescription), pharmacists (who fill them), and patients (who ingest them)? Could it be a question of transitory cost savings over patient care? Just asking.
(In Europe, many healthcare systems are developing HTA standards and practices to ensure that product quality and therapeutic value are not inappropriately influenced by short-term cost considerations. We should learn from their experience.)
And, after all, regardless of your position on narrow therapeutic index, biosimilarity and interchangability (not to mention pharmacovigilance) – isn’t knowledge power?