Kalveer Flora, MPharm, London North West University Healthcare National Health Service Trust, discusses her trust's extensive experience with switching patients to biosimilars.
With my particular trust, we’ve been using biosimilars, or best-value biologics, for nearly 3 years now. Within each transition, we’ve gained a lot of insight and knowledge from the last one. We’ve had a very positive experience from all of our uptakes.
I’m very lucky that the team that we have, especially the rheumatology department, is very forward-thinking in terms of encouraging uptake of biosimilars and using them for our patients. So we’ve had very positive experiences.
With the first switch that we did, that was an infliximab biosimilar, that went well. That was an [intravenous, IV] switch, so patients were informed when they came in to have their infusion.
The second switch that we did was for etanercept. This is a subcutaneous product; with a subcutaneous switch, there are other considerations you have to think of. Because it’s a drug delivered through home care services in the [United Kingdom, UK], you have to manage the home care services, so that was slightly trickier, but we had very positive experiences with transitioning our patients. We transitioned maybe 300 patients, so that was a big switch for us.
After etanercept came rituximab, which was again easier because it’s an IV switch, so there were less monitoring and negotiations with home care services. Patients were also told when they came in to have their infusions.
And last, the adalimumab, which has also been a big switch for us, and which has gone very well. That’s because we’ve had a vast experience with previous switches that we can always then use to plan how we would do this switch. All in all, a very good experience with switching.