TESTIMONY – STATE BIOSIMILAR SUBSTITUTION
Texas State Senate Public Health Committee
Health & Human Services Committee Consideration of SB 542
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 afternoon. Chairman, I’d like to thank you for allowing me to speak today. My name is Cindy Brannum. I live in Farmersville, Texas. I have lived in the Dallas Ft. Worth Area since 1977. The legislators that serve my community are Representative Scott Turner and Senator Craig Estes. I’m here today representing myself, CreakyJoints, an arthritis support organization which is part of the Global Healthy Living Foundation, and other people in Texas who are, or will be taking biologics and biosimilars.
I am here to speak in favor of Senate Bill 542. More specifically I support the notification requirements SB 542 contains because if physicians had not known exactly what drug I was taking when I had a severe adverse reaction, we would not have been able to determine the cause.
So as you can see, this 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 look at my illness as a journey, and it has to be a good one despite the fact that my adverse reaction – pulmonary fibrosis — will kill me. I have come to terms with this. What is difficult to come to terms with, however, is that any pharmacy would consider dispensing a drug other than the one my doctor prescribed without my physician’s knowledge. This is what SB 542 will prevent from happening.
The FDA has already approved one biosimilar this year. Four other applications have been submitted and could potentially be approved this year as well. These new cheaper alternatives are coming. They’ll offer patients like me new treatment options and hopefully, significant cost savings. I like the sound of both of those things. I just want to be sure that substitutions be done safely and transparently. SB 542 sets up a system (that currently does not exist in Texas) for that to occur.
How hard is it to enter information into an electronic health record, that lets our physicians know our drug has been switched? How much better would we all feel knowing that if the worst happened we did everything we could to make sure emergency room doctors had all the information they needed to make the right decisions that saved lives?
Our relationships with our doctors are built on trust, and in my case, over many years. We cannot let a wonderful innovation like biosimilars, which promises to bring down costs to the patient, and increase access to new treatments, damage this relationship by not notifying my doctor and me when a drug is substituted.
GHLF and I urge the members of this Committee to support SB 542. 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.