Takeda Pharmaceuticals.113 The biologic Enbrel is an Amgen product, as is
Neupogen.114 AbbVie makes Humira,115 and Janssen makes Remicade.116
Each of these biologics is facing market competition from a biosimilar. In
addition, GHLF receives support from BIO, the international trade
association that has aggressively lobbied on behalf of its pharmaceutical
company members for state biosimilar legislation.117 To the extent that
GHLF’s lobbying efforts are aligned with those of its corporate sponsors, it
too may be taking advantage of the “patient-friendly” label to advance
legislation that is friendly to biologic manufacturers, but not necessarily
friendly to patients.
Laws like those passed in Indiana and Louisiana do not necessarily help
patients.118 If state laws make it harder to substitute interchangeable
biosimilars, there will be fewer substitutions, potentially forcing a patient to
stick with a more expensive biologic even if a safe and less expensive
biosimilar is available.119 If laws require doctors to consent to substitution,
this requirement “may increase undue patient anxiety towards biosimilars
(and generics) and deter their use.”120 If the FDA has determined that a
biosimilar is clinically indistinguishable from a biologic, why would doctors
support legislation that makes it more difficult for patients to obtain a
Like pharmaceutical companies, doctors have good reason to stand behind
legislation that is labeled patient-friendly. In supporting such laws, the
physicians themselves give the appearance of supporting their patients’
interests and supporting such laws is good PR.
However, physicians may not be aware of their patients’ interests. For
example, patients, but not physicians, will feel the economic consequences
of taking a more expensive biologic. A physician suffers no economic loss if
his or her patient must incur astronomical expenses related to medication.121
113. Our Partners, CREAKY JOINTS, https://creakyjoints.org/about-us/our-partners/ (last
visited Apr. 9, 2017).
114. Products, AMGEN, http://wwwext.amgen.com/products/ (last visited Apr. 9, 2017).
115. Products, ABBVIE, https://www.abbvie.com/our-science/products.html (last visited
Apr. 9, 2017).
116. Products, JANSSEN, http://www.janssen.com/products (last updated Apr. 3, 2017).
118. Kadin, supra note 47, at 420 (referencing Indiana law); H. B. No. 319, 41st Reg.
Sess. 391 (La. 2015), (referencing Louisiana law).
119. Kadin, supra note 47, at 421.
120. Id. at 425.
121. Aaron S. Kesselheim et al., The High Cost of Prescription Drugs in the United
States: Origins and Prospects for Reform, 316 JAMA 858, 861, 867 (2016) (explaining that