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Virginia Enacts the First State Law Regulating Interchangeable Biosimilar Products

On March 16, 2013, Virginia became the first state to enact legislation regulating a pharmacist’s substitution of an interchangeable biologic drug for a prescribed reference biologic drug. Section 54.1-3408.04 of the Code of Virginia permits pharmacists to dispense a biosimilar in place of a prescribed biological product only if that biosimilar meets the higher safety standards for “interchangeability” under the federal Biologics Price Competition and Innovation Act of 2009. Section 54.1-3408.04 raises additional hurdles for biosimilar and interchangeable biologic drug manufacturers by imposing recordkeeping and prescriber and patient notification requirements on a pharmacist dispensing an interchangeable biosimilar in the place of a prescribed biological product. In contrast, pharmacists are not subject to those burdens when substituting a therapeutically equivalent small-molecule generic drug for a prescribed branded drug. The provisions of the Act are discussed in more detail in a March 28, 2013 Duane Morris client alert (click here).

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