Last Wednesday, State Senator Carla Nelson and State Representative Jennifer Schulz of Minnesota announced the introduction of a bill aimed at reducing the price of certain medications by expanding access to biosimilars. The bill requires that pharmacy benefit managers and health carriers must not require or demonstrate a preference to prescribe or dispense reference biological products, biosimilars, or interchangeable biological products. If a pharmacy benefit manager or health carrier elects coverage for any of these types of products, it must also elect equivalent coverage for the other types of products, according to the bill.
Senator Nelson, in advocating for the bill added, “We can quickly make a big dent in the sky-high cost of health care simply by expanding access to the much more affordable and safe biosimilar versions of biologic prescription drugs.” If approved, Minnesota would become the first state in the country to implement such a law. While advocates expect pushback from pharmaceutical companies, they believe that the bill’s bipartisan backing gives it a fighting chance at survival.
The bill provides an effective date of January 1, 2022, and further provides that the commissioner of health shall analyze the effects of the bill on the pricing of biological products, biosimilars, and interchangeable biological products and report any such findings by December 15, 2023.
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