Dr Brandon Shank: Biosimilar Naming and Suffixes

Brandon Shank, PharmD, MPH, BCOP, Clinical Pharamcy Specialist, discusses the merits of the current biosimilar naming system.


Could 4-letter suffixes to the names of biosimilars create confusion?

I think one benefit of the naming system is that you know what the reference product is. I think some clinicians, pharmacists included, and patients may assume interchangeability, which may not be inferred by the naming system. I think it is important to have a way to differentiate these products so that you can know which ones are interchangeable, so that ones with different indications will also be recognized and not be used for the wrong indication. Also, dosing and administration differences in products may also be assumed with the naming system, which is why the suffix will be helpful in those situations. I also believe that with this naming system, they need to differentiate the products in the computer order systems and be able to have adverse event reporting that distinctly identifies them, which the naming system will with the current suffix system.