Tony Hagen is senior managing editor for The Center for Biosimilars®.
A partnership forum sponsored by the Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy (AMCP) yielded numerous ideas for improving access to biosimilars.
The Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy (AMCP) has kicked off an effort to promote biosimilar use by developing strategies and consensus at a 2-day summit involving various stakeholders.
“AMCP is dedicated to continue partnering with managed care pharmacy stakeholders to implement these strategies and advocate for biologic to be accepted as safe and effective therapeutic options, as well as increase access to them,” said AMCP CEO Susan Cantrell, RPh, CAE.
A Broad Agenda
Specifically, the group said it has resolved to improve education about biosimilars, agree on best practices regarding use, promote the collection of real-world evidence and postmarketing data on biosimilar adverse events, review policies for coverage of biosimilars under the pharmacy benefit, oppose anticompetitive practices, and bolster public support for FDA approvals.
“Some of the complexities from the health plan side, including contracting arrangements, may reduce or remove the anticipated cost savings of a biosimilar vs the reference biologic,” the group wrote in a summary statement.
They identified a need to overcome clinical and administrative barriers to biosimilar use that add to the difficulties of matching patients with biosimilars that would address their health needs. “With complexities around setting up the [electronic medical records] and order sets in each provider system, particularly given that each patient might be associated with different payers and formularies, it can be difficult for providers to determine the right biosimilar that will provide the right treatment at the right cost for a given patient, especially when the biosimilar is one drug in a multi-drug regimen.”
The summit participants also concluded that in some cases originator brand biologics may come with robust patient support programs, and taken as a whole these may supply compelling reasons to prefer reference products over biosimilars.
In addition, there’s a need to overcome pubic “mistrust of science in general and the drug approval process in particular,” and the group aims to work on this, too.
Getting all this done will be no easy task, they said. “A variety of factors cause the biosimilar landscape to be highly complex and diversified. These include different approval pathways due to the complexity of molecules, differing benefit types and sites of care, complex electronic medical record (EMR) systems and order sets, differences in administration routes and approved indications, confusion around terminology, physician clinical specialties, and the differing needs of patients depending on the disease state as well as whether they are treatment-naïve. All of these complexities present an overall challenge from which many other challenges flow.”
In mapping out its future path to accomplish these objectives, the group said it would publish a proceedings document with its findings and recommendations, support that dissemination with a webinar, construct other educational programs, find ways to incentivize biosimilar uptake, and recruit more participants and stakeholders to help with the overall process.