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Concerns raised over Australian decision to substitute biosimilars

In May 2015, Australia’s Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee (PBAC) recommended that originator biologicals could be substituted by biosimilars by physicians and pharmacists [1]. However, pharmacy companies, as well as physician and patient groups have reacted with concern over the decision.

Biosimilars of infliximab

Last update: 26 June 2015

Infliximab is a chimeric monoclonal antibody against tumour necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α). It is used to treat autoimmune diseases, such as ankylosing spondylitis, Crohn’s disease, psoriasis, psoriatic arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and ulcerative colitis.

Biosimilars of adalimumab

Last update: 26 June 2015

Adalimumab is a human monoclonal antibody that treats autoimmune diseases by inhibiting tumour necrosis factor (TNF); a soluble inflammatory cytokine. Adalimumab binds to TNF-alpha (TNFα), preventing it from activating TNF receptors, which cause the inflammatory reactions associated with autoimmune diseases. Adalimumab is indicated for the treatment of rheumatoid, juvenile idiopathic and psoriatic arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, Crohn’s disease, psoriasis and ulcerative colitis.

‘Similar biologics’ approved and marketed in India

Last update: 26 June 2015

There have been established guidelines for approving generic versions of small molecule chemical drugs in India for some time already. However, no specific guidelines for ‘similar biologics’, as the Indian regulatory authorities call these products, have existed in India until recently. This has been the case despite the fact that the requirements for granting regulatory approval for such ‘similar biologics’ required more data than for a simple generic drug application [1].

Australia’s PBAC recommends substitution of biosimilars

Australia’s Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee (PBAC) has recommended that biosimilars are suitable for substitution at the pharmacy level.

Biosimilars of epoetin alfa

Last update: 19 June 2015

Epoetin alfa is a human erythropoietin produced in cell culture using recombinant DNA technology. It stimulates erythropoiesis (increases red blood cell levels) and is used to treat anaemia, commonly associated with chronic renal failure and cancer chemotherapy.

Biosimilars of trastuzumab

Last update: 19 June 2015

Trastuzumab is a monoclonal antibody that interferes with the human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2)/neu receptor. In some cancers, notably certain types of breast cancer, HER2 is over-expressed, and causes cancer cells to reproduce uncontrollably. Trastuzumab is therefore used to treat certain breast cancers.

Spanish Society of Rheumatology issues position statement on biosimilars

The Spanish Society of Rheumatology (Sociedad Española de Reumatología, SER) has issued a position statement on biosimilars, reflecting its views on issues such as interchangeability and traceability of biosimilars.

Biosimilars of bevacizumab

Last update: 12 June 2015

Bevacizumab is a humanized monoclonal antibody. It inhibits angiogenesis (the formation of new blood vessels) by blocking the action of vascular endothelial growth factor A (VEGF-A). Bevacizumab can therefore slow the growth of new blood vessels in tumours and is used to treat various cancers, including colorectal, lung, breast, glioblastoma, kidney and ovarian.

Biosimilars of etanercept

Last update: 12 June 2015

Etanercept is a biological drug that treats autoimmune diseases by inhibiting tumour necrosis factor (TNF); a soluble inflammatory cytokine. Etanercept is indicated for the treatment of rheumatoid, juvenile rheumatoid and psoriatic arthritis, plaque psoriasis and ankylosing spondylitis.

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