Capitol Alert: AM Alert: Biosimilars, abortion bills ready for votes

dsiders@sacbee.comAugust 26, 2013 

2W11STEINBERG

Darrell Steinberg

RICH PEDRONCELLI — Associated Press

Both houses of the Legislature start the week with floor sessions at noon, with a controversial bill on "biosimilars" eligible for a vote as early as today in the Assembly.

Senate Bill 598, by Sen. Jerry Hill, D-San Mateo, would establish conditions under which pharmacists may distribute the new type of drugs once they are approved by the federal government. Like generic versions of brand-name pain relievers, biosimilars are used in Europe to substitute for band-name biologic products, including vaccines and complex medications for diseases such as cancer.

Unlike everyday generics, biosimilars are not identical to the brand-name drugs they are intended to replace.

As with similar legislation in other states, the bill is supported by drug companies and opposed by several health plans and manufacturers of generic drugs. Supporters say regulation will protect consumers, while opponents say it will hinder access to lower-cost replacements.

VIDEO: Dan Walters wonders if Gov. Jerry Brown isn't happy to be missing next week's opening of the new eastern span of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge.

ABORTION: In the upper house, senators could take action as early as today on a bill that would allow nurse practitioners, certified nurse midwives and physician assistants to conduct a type of early abortion using a method called aspiration.

The legislation, Assembly Bill 154, by Assemblywoman Toni Atkins, D-San Diego, is eligible for a vote.

WOMEN: Senators are expected to vote on a resolution by Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson, D-Santa Barbara, to encourage publicly held companies to include more women on their boards of directors.

SHEEHAN: Antiwar activist Cindy Sheehan is preparing to formally announce her longshot candidacy for governor in 2014. Sheehan, of the Peace and Freedom Party, has scheduled a news conference for Tuesday at the Capitol. Sheehan ran a failed campaign for vice president last year alongside Roseanne Barr.

FRESHMAN FACTS: Read our little-known fun facts about freshmen legislators on the Capitol Alert Insider Edition. Today's subject: Assemblyman Bill Quirk.

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