Two bipartisan bills, the Advancing Education on Biosimilars Act and the Ensuring Innovation Act, were signed into law by President Biden on April 23, 2021. According to U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy, MD (R-LA) who introduced the bills, they “both work to lower the price patients pay for their prescriptions” by increasing competition.
The Advancing Education on Biosimilars Act will create educational materials for health care providers, patients, and caregivers relating to biological products, including biosimilars and interchangeables. The materials will explain key regulatory terms to help people better understand how biosimilars and interchangeables are developed and regulated. They will also include relevant clinical considerations for prescribers, explain the adverse event reporting process, and clarify the relationship between a reference product, a biosimilar, and an interchangeable. The Act will advance continuing education programs for healthcare providers relating to the prescribing of biological products, including biosimilars and interchangeables, and the relevant clinical considerations.
The Ensuring Innovation Act changes the way the FDA determines whether a new drug qualifies for the five year new chemical entity (NTE) exclusivity. It amends the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act) by replacing the definition of “active ingredient (including any ester or salt of the active ingredient)” with “active moiety (as defined by the Secretary in section 314.3 of title 21, Code of Federal Regulations (or any successor regulations).” According to the bill’s sponsors, this change closes loopholes that allowed drugmakers to gain market exclusivity on minor modifications that did not represent true innovations, which delayed cheaper generics from entering the market. In addition, the Act requires FDA advisory committee review of biological products prior to approval, or an explanation as to why an advisory committee meeting was not needed.