NHS Launches Website to Educate UK Professionals, Patients About Biosimilars

The United Kingdom's National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), part of the National Health Service (NHS), has created a website to educate the public about biosimilar drugs.
Jackie Syrop
November 23, 2017
The United Kingdom's National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), part of the National Health Service (NHS), has created a website to educate the public about biosimilar drugs. The website, Focus on Biosimilars, explains the background of biologic drugs and the subsequent development of biosimilar drugs, which the NHS says, “may well hold the key to ensuring the sustainability of our globally renowned public healthcare system” because biosimilars can broaden access to expensive biologic treatments that would otherwise be denied to some patients.

Focus on Biosimilars is divided into 3 portals, one each for pharmaceutical companies, NHS healthcare professionals, and NHS patients and caregivers. The patient portal features interviews with patients, nurses, clinicians and pharmacists. These videos help to explain typical patient experiences with biosimilars, what switching programs are, how patients can benefit from clinical trials of biosimilars, as well as the definition of biosimilars and how they differ from originator biologics.

The 3 portals of Focus on Biosimilars explore many key questions associated with biosimilars in use by the NHS, including:
  • What are the potential benefits of biosimilars for the NHS?
  • Are biosimilars less effective than originator biologics?
  • Why is it important to conduct clinical research into biosimilars in the UK?
  • Why should NHS health professionals support clinical trials of biosimilar drugs?
  • Why should patients consider taking part in a clinical trial or switching program?
  • Why should global pharmaceutical companies bring their biosimilar studies to the UK?
The website points out that uptake and acceptance of biosimilars has rapidly accelerated across the NHS in recent years. The site discusses the problem that lies with “The Usual Suspects” scenario, in which it is difficult to find clinicians interested in conducting clinical trials of biosimilars when “the usual contacts” among key medical research areas are not interested in participating in biosimilar trials. The NHS addressed this issue by having the NIHR Clinical Research Network (CRN) create biosimilar clinical trial packages that offer an alternative route to finding appropriate biosimilar study investigators and sites across the region.
 
The website also provides links to related information, including updates from the FDA and other international regulatory organizations, advice about local adoption of biosimilars, patient organizations and foundations, and links to information about how to participate in UK clinical trials of biosimilars.



 

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