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Legislature sends drug bill to governor

September 05, 2013|By Marc Lifsher
  • Sen. Jerry Hill (D-San Mateo) talks to Sen. Kevin de Leon (D-Los Angeles) about his biosimilar bill.
Sen. Jerry Hill (D-San Mateo) talks to Sen. Kevin de Leon (D-Los Angeles)… (Rich Pedroncelli / Associated…)

SACRAMENTO -- The Senate sent to the governor a bill sponsored by California biotech companies that would require pharmacists to notify doctors when patients are given a so-called biosimilar drug.

Such medicines are used as lower-cost substitutes for biological drugs made from human blood, serums, bacterial cultures, viruses and other microorganisms. Although not identical, the biosimilars are designed to produce similar effects on human health.

The bill passed on a 30-2 tally late Wednesday.

Sen. Jerry Hill (D-San Mateo), the bill’s author, said that SB 598 gives doctors important information they might need to know if a patient develops immune system problems months after taking the biosimilar.

“The physician does not have to go on a forensic hunt to find out what you took and where you got it,” he said.

But, an opponent suggested that the bill is not about patient health. “It’s not a question today of whether or not we’re voting to make the drug safe,” said Sen. Rod Wright (D-Inglewood). “We’re voting about profits for the company that originally made the drug.

“As we in South Central say, ‘this is all about the Benjamins.' ”

Another tech-related bill was sent to the governor Wednesday after the Senate voted unanimously to require all operators of computerized databases in California to notify clients about unauthorized security breaches of usernames, passwords or security questions and answers.

The bill is SB 46 by Sen. Ellen M. Corbett (D-San Leandro).

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