Brown Vetoes, Signs Several Health Care-Related Measures
Gov. Jerry Brown (D) recently took action on several health-related bills.
Sunday was the final day for Brown to sign or veto bills from the recent legislative session.
Biosimilar Bill Vetoed
On Saturday, Brown vetoed a bill (SB 598) that would have expanded access to biosimilar medications, which are a lower-cost version of medications called biologics, AP/U-T San Diego reports. The bill advanced through the Legislature with bipartisan support (AP/U-T San Diego, 10/12).
The measure would have allowed pharmacists to dispense less-expensive biosimilars when physicians prescribe biologic medication if FDA deemed the biosimilars "interchangeable" with the initially prescribed product. It also called for pharmacists to notify patients and their physicians about whether they were receiving a biosimilar or brand-name drug, the New York Times reports.
In a statement explaining the veto, Brown said the notification requirement "on its face looks reasonable" but is "for some reason highly controversial."
He added that while doctors "would welcome this information ... CalPERS and other large purchasers warn that the requirement itself would cast doubt on the safety and desirability of more cost-effective alternatives to biologics."
He concluded that the bill was "premature" because FDA has not yet decided on interchangeability standards.
Ralph Neas -- president of the Generic Pharmaceutical Association -- applauded the veto (Pollack, New York Times, 10/13).
However, the Biotechnology Industry Organization said the veto was "disappoint[ing]" (Leuty, "BiotechSF," San Francisco Business Times, 10/13).
Medi-Cal Interpreters Bill Vetoed
Medi-Cal is California's Medicaid program (Siders , "Capitol Alert," Sacramento Bee, 10/13).
The bill would have created a system, called CommuniCal, to improve access to interpreters at physician offices and hospitals. The legislation also would have:
- Required the State Personnel Board to determine appropriate testing, training and certification of new Medi-Cal interpreters;
- Given such interpreters the right to join a public workers union and collectively bargain with the state; and
- Guaranteed the interpreters payment of at least $60 per hour (California Healthline, 5/30).
In a statement, Brown said, "Given the challenges and the many unknowns the state faces in [expanding Medi-Cal], I don't believe it would be wise to introduce yet another complex element" (Siders , "Capitol Alert," Sacramento Bee, 10/13).
Brown Signs Gun-Related Bill
The law requires gun owners to store firearms safely when someone who lives in the home is prohibited from owning a weapon because of a mental illness or a criminal record (California Healthline, 5/30).
Brown Signs Bill Requiring Notification of Missing Patients, Residents
On Wednesday, Brown signed a bill (AB 620) that requires certain health care facilities to immediately notify police and family members when elderly adults or individuals with disabilities go missing.
Several advocacy groups support the law, including:
- The Alzheimer's Association;
- The State Council on Developmental Disabilities;
- The Arc; and
- United Cerebral Palsy California Collaboration (Ivie, Contra Costa Times, 10/11).
Public Safety Death Benefits Bill Vetoed
In a statement on Sunday, Brown said AB 1373 was "identical" to a measure that he vetoed last year, adding, "I outlined the information needed to properly evaluate the implications of this bill. I have not yet received that information" (Siders , "Capitol Alert," Sacramento Bee, 10/13).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.