Published August 16th, 2016 by Stephanie
The term “biosimilar” has recently entered the public sphere thanks to a special fast track added to the FDA approval system. But what exactly is a biosimilar, and what effect could it have on the price of prescription medications?
Biology is a very complicated field. The human body is full of long, complicated protein chains and RNA strands which can act differently based on their exact composition and even their shape. The medications which affect our body are often just as complicated, and many of them mimic hormones, special chemicals which tell your cells to act differently while they’re present. For instance, insulin is a hormone that tells your body to convert blood sugar into fat, and testosterone affects a variety of body functions like aggression and muscle gain.
Many drugs that mimic hormones are already “biosimilar” to them, which means they aren’t identical to the hormone but the human body will treat them exactly the same anyway. Naturally, what happens between hormones and drugs can also happen between two different drugs, and so a biosimilar drug has an identical or nearly identical effect to another existing drug.
You’d think that when one drug proves it acts the same as another drug, passing it through the FDA would be a no-brainer, but until the ACA provision went into effect, biosimilar drugs had to pass through the same months- or years-long approval process as drugs without a proven record. Because of this, pharmaceutical companies were less likely to develop biosimilar drugs since by the time they got approved the patent would run out on the original version and they could start producing the generic version on the cheap instead.
However, with the ACA’s new fast track it becomes possible for pharmaceutical companies to offer biosimilar drugs while the original is still in its early brand-name-only phase. This has the potential to improve new medication prices since they now have to deal with competition straight out of the gate instead of just several years down the line.
But whether or not a new prescription drug has any biosimilar competition, you’re sure to find a bargain when you use the USA Rx pharmacy discount card. Thanks to our company’s tough negotiations, we get our cardholders discounts of up to 75 percent on prescription drugs in over 60,000 pharmacies nationwide, including the major chains. Since we operate on a commission basis, we don’t need any money from you, either: just send us your name and an email address and you can start taking advantage of our program.
If you’re interested in learning more, call us at 888-277-3911 or drop us a line at [email protected]