Biosimilar Drugs Should Not Be Confused with Generic Drugs
Generic drugs and biosimilar drugs should not be considered equals. Typical drugs are made from small molecules and are chemical substances. Generics can be reproduced by simply replicating the chemical formula of the parent drug. Biologic drugs are made from living, large molecules and their biosimilar replication in form does not guarantee the same function as the parent drug.
From the Washington Policy Center's Policy Brief on biosimilars: "Biosimilar drugs offer the very real possibility of providing patients with quality alternative medicines and enhanced treatments at better prices. But bringing biosimilar drugs to patients depends on achieving a transparent, predictable, competitive marketplace, protected by strong intellectual property and regulatory systems". (See the full study here.)
Legislation has been proposed in the 2013 session in the Washington state legislature (HB1528 and SB5469) that would allow substitution of the prescribed biologic drug only if the federal Food and Drug Administration had approved the substituting biosimilar drug for efficacy and safety.
This legislation would insure patient safety for Washington residents.