HD88 - Therapeutic Interchange of Chemically Dissimilar Drugs Study Pursuant to HJR 734


Executive Summary:
House Joint Resolution (HJR) 734 of the 1999 Session of the General Assembly directs the Joint Commission on Health Care to study issues relating to therapeutic interchange of chemically dissimilar drugs. In conducting its study, the Joint Commission is directed to:

(i) collect data on chemically dissimilar drugs which may be interchanged therapeutically to assess the efficacy of this practice;

(ii) solicit input from experts in pharmacy and chemical composition of drugs and the mechanisms by which drugs work in the human body to treat disease;

(iii) conduct a literature search for studies on the use of chemically dissimilar drugs for the same or similar therapies;

(iv) receive input from all stakeholders, including, but not limited to, physicians, pharmacists, insurance companies, health maintenance organizations, third-party benefit managers, managed care pharmacy organizations, patients and manufacturers;

(v) examine other states' laws and regulations to identify possible mechanisms for regulating the practice of therapeutic interchange of chemically dissimilar drugs;

(vi) conduct a comprehensive review of the related issues at the national level;

(vii) take such other actions as appear necessary and appropriate to collect sufficient data and analysis of the issues; and

(viii) make recommendations concerning whether the practice of therapeutic interchange of chemically dissimilar drugs should be regulated; the components of any such regulations, if recommended; definitions of relevant terms; and the appropriate body for such regulation, if recommended.

A copy of HJR 734 is attached at Appendix A.

A Joint Commission on Health Care Subcommittee Was Formed To Review The Issue of Therapeutic Interchange of Chemically Dissimilar Drugs

In view of the complexity of the issues related to therapeutic interchange of chemically dissimilar drugs, a Subcommittee of the Joint Commission on Health Care was established to address many of the specific tasks outlined in HJR 734. The Subcommittee is chaired by Senator Benjamin J. Lambert, III; the other Subcommittee members are: Senator Edward L. Schrock, Delegate John J. Davies, III, Delegate Franklin P. Hall, and Delegate Harvey B. Morgan.

The HJR 734 Subcommittee met three times prior to this draft report being written. Figure 1 briefly summarizes the activities of the Subcommittee and the testimony presented at the three meetings. The Subcommittee will meet again on November 23rd to develop its recommendations regarding what action, if any, the Joint Commission on Health Care should take in response to the issue of therapeutic interchange of chemically dissimilar drugs.