AMCP Launches Biosimilars Task Force
Espicom View : The Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy (AMCP)'s decision to establish a Biosimilars Task Force is an interesting development; it indicates that the wider healthcare business in the US is beginning to accept and prepare for the prospect of using biosimilars as a treatment option, although the first biosimilars in the country are still some way off. The AMCP recognises that biosimilars could bring down healthcare costs. Other similar healthcare organisations are likely to follow the AMCP's lead so they can be ready to capitalise on biosimilar use as soon as the first one is approved.
The Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy (AMCP) has established a Biosimilars Task Force to begin developing a Biosimilars Collective Intelligence System. The aim of the system is to document the safety and efficacy of biosimilars, using continuous analysis of available data for innovator specialty drugs as reference points. The lead sponsors of the task force and the proposed multi-year initiative are Armada Health Care and Specialty Pharmacy Association of America. The AMCP commented that creating a Biosimilars Collective Intelligence System could fundamentally change the landscape for specialty pharmacies, which it claimed represent the most promising and fastest-growing sector in pharmaceuticals.
The AMCP is engaging data consortium and specialty drug experts from what it termed the leading US managed care organisations for their assistance in identifying the steps necessary to build and launch the system before the first biosimilars hit the US market. The task force will also engage health services researchers from an array of public and non-governmental organisations, including the Harvard Mini-Sentinel group, the FDA, the Agency for Healthcare Research & Quality, the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute and the Brookings Institute, as well as pharmacy benefit management firms, specialty management organisations and drug manufacturers.
The AMCP is a national professional association of pharmacists, healthcare practitioners and others who develop and provide clinical, educational and business management services for over 200mn Americans covered by a managed pharmacy benefit. The organisation has over 6,000 members, engaged in tasks including monitoring the safety and clinical efficacy of new medications, alerting patients to potentially dangerous drug interactions, designing and implementing medication therapy management programmes and creating incentives to control patients' out-of-pocket costs, including through lower co-payments on generic drugs and certain preferred brands.
The organisation had opposed the biosimilar legislation passed in California earlier in 2013, but subsequently vetoed by the state's Governor in September. The AMCP had argued that the legislation would restrict access to biosimilars, add wasteful regulatory burdens on pharmacists and lead to higher prices on prescription drugs by reducing competition.