Ali McBride, PharmD, MS, BCPS, clinical coordinator of hematology/oncology at the University of Arizona Cancer Center, discusses pharmacists' educational needs on biosimilars.
I think it's not just pharmacists. It's the overall healthcare team and provider team. Right now I think we're still in a new and emerging area. Hopefully, shortly we’ll also see biosimilar insulin on the market, too, and that’ll be a great discussion; that’s a big topic right now in the biosimilar area.
For pharmacists, I think there needs to be a lot more discussion on how drugs are getting approved, what is the regulatory process: phase 1, phase 3. We also need to go over and delineate a lot more discussion on the global implementation of biosimilars to help provide more of a foundation for discussions here in the [United States, US].
Other areas which are requiring a lot more education: [continuing education, CE], review articles as well to get the information out there in the next few years. We need more discussion on [pharmacy and therapeutics, P and T] implementation, how that works. Reimbursement is going to be critical in this area, and there is a pure lack of understanding of reimbursement.
In fact, if there's one thing that can be done, it’s to create a level playing field for the understanding of reimbursement, both from a private payer and also government payer type of situation to make sure everyone is on the same page. I feel the more we talk about this, the more the education goes on on this, it will only help better provide resources for patients, but also institutions. So pharmacists really need to be aware of that as well.