Camouflaging State Biosimilar Laws as Pro-Patient
In the late 1990s, a new class of medication became available to patients
suffering from chronic, debilitating autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid
1. Associate Professor of Law, University of Idaho College of Law, B. A., Northwestern
University, J. D., Loyola Law School, Los Angeles. This essay benefited immensely from the
comments received at the 2016 Nova Law Review Symposium and the 2016 Loyola
University Chicago Beazley Institute for Health Law Symposium, where I exchanged ideas
with scholars, providers, pharmacists and patients. I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis
(“RA”) at 13 months, and have taken many of the biologics at issue in this essay. I did not
speak openly about my struggles with RA or the medications used to treat it until recently, and
am grateful to Lene Andersen, Abby Sher, Laura Grey, Carey Tolleson and my workshop
classmates for encouraging me to do so. This essay is dedicated to the army of RA warriors
fighting for better treatment, affordable medication, and the freedom to lead the life we choose.
You can learn more about chronic illness activism via the hashtag #chroniclife.
2. From 2013 to 2015, I volunteered as a patient blogger for the website Creaky Joints,
which is affiliated with the non-profit Global Healthy Living Foundation (“GHLF”). In May
2015, I testified as a GHLF patient advocate at the Louisiana Capitol regarding a pending
biosimilar bill. In connection with my testimony, I participated in conference calls, conducted
legal research regarding the pending bill, drafted my testimony, and gave media and television
interviews. I was not compensated or reimbursed for my blogging or my Louisiana testimony
and Louisiana media efforts. In July 2015, I was a member of a panel organized by the
Congressional Arthritis Caucus, and again represented GHLF as a patient advocate. In
preparation for the Caucus, I participated in conference calls, conducted legal research, spent
approximately 5 hours preparing my remarks, and gave a press interview. GHLF reimbursed
my out-of-pocket expenses, including hotel and air travel, associated with my trip from Los
Angeles, CA to Washington, D. C., but I was not compensated for any of my additional work.
Sometime in the fall of 2015, I participated in a call with fellow GHLF patient advocates, and
described my experience testifying in Louisiana. I was not paid for that call. I also provided
recommendations to Dr. Ben Nowell, GHLF’s Director of Patient-Centered research regarding
the Creaky Joints data collection project known as Arthritis Power. I was not compensated for
consulting with Dr. Nowell. Sometime in fall 2015, I was contacted by the organizers of the
February 2016 Biosimilars Market Access Summit. I was asked to participate as a presenter,
and I suggested that GHLF’s legislative specialist, Steve Marmaras, also be invited to speak.
Steve signed on, and GHLF agreed to reimburse me for travel expenses connected with the
summit. Thereafter, I ceased advocacy and blogging for GHLF. In December 2015, I learned
that Steve Marmaras had withdrawn from the Biosimilars Market Access Summit. GHLF
reimbursed me for the travel expenses I incurred in connection with my trip from Idaho to
Virginia for the summit.