North Carolina House of Representatives Health Committee
House Health Committee consideration of HB 195
Global Healthy Living Foundation
April 1, 2015
I have no disclosures to make regarding my travel here today. The Global Healthy Living Foundation accepts grants and charitable contributions from pharmaceutical companies, government, private foundations and individuals. We have received scientific briefings from pharmaceutical companies, as well as from our independent medical advisory board.
Good morning. Chairmen, I’d like to thank you for allowing me to speak today. My name is Regan Reynolds. I was born and raised in North Carolina and currently live in Raleigh. The legislators that serve my community are ___________. I’m here today representing myself, CreakyJoints, an arthritis support organization which is part of the Global Healthy Living Foundation, and other people in North Carolina who are, or will be taking biologics and interchangeable biosimilars.
I am here to speak in support of House Bill 195. More specifically I support the notification requirements House Bill 195 contains. I have taken two different biologics to treat my ankylosing spondylitis for three years. I have suffered from severe chronic pain for my entire life. Unfortunately physicians had never been able to properly diagnose me. Chronic pain became a part of my identity. Stretching for 30 minutes before I could even lift my head off the pillow, a part of my daily routine.
A naturopath I was seeing eventually recommended that I see a rheumatologist. Eventually after weeks of evaluations and lab tests it was determined that I have ankylosing spondylitis. My relationship with my rheumatologist is incredibly important to me. It has taken me a few years to find the right physician-patient relationship that has produced the best outcomes for me. That relationship is built on trust. She listens to my unique concerns, lifestyle needs, and description of symptoms that don’t always match lab results or disease metrics. I follow her guidance and stay patient and committed to the therapies she provides.
Interchangeable biosimilars are incredibly promising because they offer someone like me additional treatment options. While the biologic I am on now is currently working, if it stops there are only a finite number of biologics left that I can turn to. For people like me interchangeable biosimilars represent hope. Hope for healing, hope for a better future. However, the promise that interchangeable biosimilars offer can be threatened if we are not cautious about how they are substituted.
I support HB 195 because:
In my mind this is not an argument reserved for corporations, their products, profits, or interests. It is an argument about people and what information we need in order to feel better, to control our chronic illness, and to stay alive when the worst happens.
I want to be very clear when I say that I am not here to talk about whether biosimilars should or should not be on the market or whether insurance companies should be able to influence what drug a patient takes. If a drug is approved by the FDA, I assume it is safe and effective. If my insurance company wants to switch a drug that the FDA says it can switch, I trust the FDA’s decision and will take that drug. I am only asking that I, and my doctor, know what drug that is. As patients we don’t want to give that up. And as compassionate legislators, you can’t let that happen.
GHLF and I urge the members of this Committee to support House Bill 195. I appreciate your thoughtful consideration of my remarks and I would be pleased to provide any further information that you may require. Thank you for your time and attention.