Biosimilar group set to lobby new HHS Secretary to reverse reimbursement policy

By Dan Stanton contact

- Last updated on GMT

Republican representative Tom Price is the new Secretary of the HHS. Image: Flickr/Gage Skidmore
Republican representative Tom Price is the new Secretary of the HHS. Image: Flickr/Gage Skidmore
Industry group the Biosimilars Forum has welcomed President Trump’s pick of Representative Tom Price as Secretary of Health and Human Services.

The congressman from Georgia was voted in by 52 votes to 47 last week after being nominated by then President-Elect Donald Trump for US Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) in November last year.

The Biosimilars Forum – an advocacy group founded by biosimilar developers including Amgen, Boehringer Ingelheim, Merck & Co., Pfizer, Samsung Bioepis, Sandoz, and Teva – congratulated the appointment and said it looked “forward to working with Secretary Price on policy to advance access to affordable biosimilar medicines.”

Price is expected to lead the White House in dismantling the Affordable Care Act (ACA) – also known as Obamacare – having been a vocal critic​ of the policy over the past six years.

As such the Biosimilars Forum is looking to lobby the Secretary to increase access to biosimilars – a category of medicines which only exist in the US through the ACA legislation​.

“The Forum has long advocated that reimbursement policies should support the long-term viability of the biosimilar marketplace,”​ the group told Biopharma-Reporter.com. “We hope to work with Dr. Price in his new capacity – just as we did when he served in the House of Representatives – to advance a reimbursement policy that treats biosimilars like single-source drugs.

“We continue to engage the Administration and Congress to reverse the flawed CMS’ reimbursement policy and employ a separate coding and payment policy that would offer greater savings to the Medicare program and increase access of these life-saving products to patients.”

While Price’s career as an orthopedic surgeon has been deemed by some as a positive attribute to lead the HHS (he is the first physician to lead HHS in more than 20 years), others have accused him of using legislation to influence the price of pharma stock in which he actively traded.

However, Price denied his financial actions influenced policy during a recent ethics committee​, stating: “Everything that I did was ethical, aboveboard, legal and transparent.”

Related topics: Markets & Regulations, Biosimilars

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