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US pharmacists’ views on the naming and labelling of biologicals

The Alliance for Safe Biologic Medicines (ASBM) has published the results of a survey determining the opinions of US pharmacists about the naming and labelling of biosimilars [1].

Italian study compares epoetin biosimilars and originator biologicals

Recently, extensive discussion on the opportunity offered by biosimilars for the sustainability of the National Health Services has taken place in academic and regulatory contexts. The use of biosimilars continues to be limited, and the scepticism of prescribers and patients seem to be linked to the uncertainty of the risk-benefit profile of biosimilars. In the case of epoetins, used in the management of anaemia in the nephrology and oncology settings, the results of a recent study showed no difference between biosimilars and originators on relevant effectiveness and safety outcomes [1].

Pharmacovigilance of biologicals in Denmark

As a result of the increasing use of biologicals and biosimilars in Denmark, the Ministry of Health (MoH) in partnership with the country’s regulatory agency has set up an action plan to monitor biologicals and improve pharmacovigilance, as well as to improve understanding among healthcare professionals and patients [1].

Filgrastim follow-on biological has similar efficacy and safety in breast cancer patients

A study comparing two filgrastim formulations for controlling chemotherapy-induced neutropenia has reported similar efficacy, safety and non-inferiority of the biosimilar [1].

Marketing authorization for NBCDs in the EU

The regulatory body for approval of medicines in the European Union (EU) is the European Medicines Agency (EMA). The agency is responsible for the scientific evaluation of medicines developed by pharmaceutical companies for use in the EU and this also includes non-biological complex drugs (NBCDs).

The European Pharmacopoeia monographs for biotherapeutic products

European Pharmacopoeia (Ph. Eur.) monographs for biologicals have existed since the 1990s and remain the publicly available standard defining the quality of these medicines. Continued development of such monographs, however, faces considerable challenges and the value and utility of these monographs have been questioned in recent years. What such challenges are and how they can be overcome is discussed by Head of Division of the European Pharmacopoeia Department at the EDQM, Dr Emmanuelle Charton, in a GaBI Journal paper [1].

Study of top-down infliximab use in children with Crohn’s disease

The Erasmus Medical Center, in collaboration with the Netherlands Organisation for Health Research and Development and biosimilars maker Hospira, now Pfizer, is carrying out a study to investigate the benefits and risks of the use of infliximab as first-line use for children with active perianal fistulising Crohn’s disease [1].

Evidence on biosimilar efficacy and safety leads to ASAS/EULAR recommendation

A study of biological disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs) in patients with axial spondyloarthritis (axSpA) found no reason for physicians not to prescribe infliximab biosimilars [1].

Improving efficacy of biologicals without increasing cost

Biologicals targeting antitumour necrosis factor-α, such as Remicade (infliximab) and Humira (adalimumab), have been used for the treatment of chronic inflammatory diseases for many years. The advent of biological therapies raised significant pharmacoeconomic concerns, because the cost of biological treatment is much higher than the cost for conventional treatments, typically Euros 10.000‒20.000 per patient per year. This is an issue discussed by Professor Ann Gils from the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, KU Leuven, Belgium [1].

Savings to be made by using etanercept biosimilar in UK

A study of patients taking etanercept to treat rheumatoid arthritis or psoriasis in the UK has shown that there are substantial savings to be made by using the biosimilar [1].