Image via Wikimedia Commons/ Ezra Deutsch-Feldman Image via Wikimedia Commons/ Ezra Deutsch-Feldman

“Something is really wrong, and we’ve got to get ahead of this before the prices become so prohibitive.”

No matter where Congresswoman Abigail Spanberger (D-Virginia) goes, there’s one thing her constituents want to talk to her about. “I can be pretty much anywhere, and someone will take a moment to tell me their story about prescription drug pricing,” Spanberger said in a recent interview with COURIER.

Spanberger is once again setting her sights on the rising cost of prescription drugs—this time with legislation to address the high cost of biologics, advanced therapies derived from living organisms that can be used to treat diseases and conditions such as cancer and diabetes.

Less than two percent of all Americans use biologics, but they represent 40 percent of total spending on prescription drugs, according to comments made in 2018 by Dr. Scott Gottlieb, former commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration. Since 2014, biologic drugs account for 93 percent of the increase in drug spending, according to data from the IQVIA Institute.

“Something is really wrong, and we’ve got to get ahead of this before the prices become so prohibitive,” Spanberger said.

Spanberger says her Biologic Patent Transparency Act would increase access to lower-cost prescription drugs and prevent biologic manufacturers from blocking generic alternatives known as ‘biosimilars’ from entering the market.

Study after study has shown that wider availability of biosimilars would drastically reduce drug prices and according to the FDA’s own analysis, if approved biosimilars had been available in the US, Americans could have saved more than $4.5 billion in 2017.

Spanberger will now fight to advance her bill through the House. “I believe in this issue,” Spanberger said. “I want to make progress on it, and I want to make sure that it can pass the House and the Senate and get the President to sign it into law.”