Peter Jørgensen, director of the Industrial Association for Generic and Biosimilar Medicines, Denmark, explains how Denmark has engaged with patients on biosimilars.
What we have done in Denmark is, actually, we have taken the patients onboard. In the decision-making process, we have developed information for patients, which has been done by the authorities, not by companies, but by the authorities in cooperation with the patients. They have not been able to dictate the contents, but their concerns and their questions have been taken into consideration and have been answered.
If you look, for instance, at the website of the Danish Medicines Agency, you will see some very convincing “yes” answers or “no” answers to some of the most normal questions that patients might have about biosimilars.
But I think the main thing is to explain to people that, no, you’re not getting a new treatment. You’re not getting a new product. You’re simply getting another producer at a much lower price. It’s not a new treatment. It’s not really switching in the sense where we normally use that word.
Language is of course important. It’s very, if you will, uphill to try to change people’s perception of language and what you interpret when you use special words. That is also true in this area.