Once Educated, Patients Generally Receptive to Switching to Biosimilars

At the European League Against Rheumatism’s Annual European Congress of Rheumatology, held from June 13-16 in Amsterdam, Netherlands, the patient experience with switching to biosimilars from their reference products is a key topic among stakeholders.
Kelly Davio
June 13, 2018
At the European League Against Rheumatism’s Annual European Congress of Rheumatology, held from June 13-16 in Amsterdam, Netherlands, the patient experience with switching to biosimilars from their reference products is a key topic among stakeholders.

In Australia, most patients are open to biosimilars after receiving education
Researchers from the University of Sydney, Monash Health, and Monash University in Australia reported that patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) have proven to be receptive to the idea of switching to a biosimilar medicine if their physician recommends doing so.1

In a cross-sectional study of patients with RA in a tertiary hospital, 127 patients received a brief overview of biosimilars, then rated their concerns about the drugs. The researchers found that 45.2% of the cohort had received biologic drugs, and while only 5.6% had prior knowledge of biosimilars, 75.4% said that they would accept a switch to a biosimilar if their doctor recommended it. Of the remaining patients, 5.6% would refuse to switch, and 19% were unsure. Among those who would refuse a switch, the main concerns reported were efficacy and general concerns about change.

A total of 61.9% of patients regularly took generic small-molecule drugs, and 84.6% of those who did so said that they would be comfortable receiving biosimilars; 61.9% of those who refuse to take generics would still accept a biosimilar, however.

Dutch patients who transitioned to a biosimilar found information about switching sufficient
On Friday, researchers from the Amsterdam Rheumatology and Immunology Center will present research that patients who were switched to biosimilar infliximab were satisfied with the education provided to them about the switch.2

In a single center in the Netherlands, 93% of patients with RA switched from reference infliximab to a biosimilar from 2015 to 2016. Patients (n = 46) gained information about the switch from a letter, and they were further contacted by a nurse or pharmacist who answered questions and gained the patients’ consent to switch.

On the day of the switch, patients responded to a questionnaire that asked them to evaluate the information provision process, and 15 patients (33%) scored the provision as excellent, 25 (54%) scored it as good, 4 (9%) scored it as reasonable, and 2 (4%) scored it as sufficient. No patients reported that the information was insufficient for their needs.

ENSO guide can provide help with patient education
Also on Friday, members of the European Specialist Nurses Organization (ENSO) will present on the organization’s newly developed guide that provides support and information for nurses working with patients who are undergoing a switch to a biosimilar.3

The ENSO representatives, who work in oncology, diabetes management, dermatology, rheumatology, and inflammatory bowel disease, say that nurses play a crucial role in educating patients and providing support and reassurance before, during, and after a switch. They stress that using positive language is important in answering questions to help give patients confidence, and they urge teams of nurses and other healthcare professionals to adopt a consistent explanation of biosimilars in order to avoid patient confusion.

The guide, written in English and soon to be translated into 23 EU languages, includes definitions of biologic and biosimilar medicines, information about switching and substitution, information on the benefits of using biosimilars, information on the nurse’s role in managing the switch, and flow charts that describe how the switch, follow-up, and support process will unfold.

References
1. Kovitwanichkanont T, Wang D, Raghunath S, et al. Biosimilar medicine is acceptable to patients if recommended by a rheumatologist in an Australian tertiary RA cohort. Presented at the European League Against Rheumatism’s Annual European Congress of Rheumatology, June 13-16, 2018; Amsterdam, Netherlands. Abstract AB0471. doi: 10.1136/annrheumdis-2018-eular.3233.

2. Kreuk J, Twisk A, Meilink J, et al. The patients’ perspectives towards the provision of information during transition to a biosimilar. Presented at the European League Against Rheumatism’s Annual European Congress of Rheumatology, June 13-16, 2018; Amsterdam, Netherlands. Abstract FR10713-HPR. doi: 10.1136/annrheumdis-2018-eular.6884.

3. Voorneveld-Nieuwenhuis JE, Moortgat L, Nikolic MP, Crombez P, Oomen B. Switch management between similar biological medicines, a communication information guide for nurses. Presented at the European League Against Rheumatism’s Annual European Congress of Rheumatology, June 13-16, 2018; Amsterdam, Netherlands. Abstract FRI0731-HPR. doi: 10.1136/annrheumdis-2018-eular.2376.






 

x-button

Health economics experts. Managed care professionals. Key clinical specialists. This is where the worlds of clinical, regulatory, and economical outcomes for specialized pharmaceutical biotechnology meet: The Center for Biosimilars is your online resource for emerging technologies, with a focus on improving critical thinking in the field to impact patient outcomes. We’ll discuss the current landscape for advanced health care management—reviewing emerging treatment paradigms, approaches, and considerations—all by authoritative industry voices.

Intellisphere, LLC
2 Clarke Drive
Suite 100
Cranbury, NJ 08512
P: 609-716-7777
F: 609-716-4747
Copyright © 2006-2019 Intellisphere, LLC. All Rights Reserved.