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Biosimilars: clinicians and regulators need to talk

In Europe, there is a clear gap between the regulatory decisions that govern biosimilar approval and the recommendations of medical societies. The fact that the views of medical societies, whose members are the physicians that will prescribe biosimilars, disagree with those of regulators, threatens to hold back biosimilar uptake. 

Pure red cell aplasia in a CKD patient after treatment with epoetin zeta

Authors from the Versilia and Manzoni Hospitals in Italy report the case of a patient who developed pure red cell aplasia (PRCA) following subcutaneous administration of epoetin zeta, which is one of the two biosimilars of epoetin alfa licensed in Europe [1].

The economic impact of biosimilars in the US

Biologicals are large molecule compounds used to treat rare or complex diseases. Between 2013 and 2014, spending on specialty drugs, including biologicals, increased 32.4%, while spending on small-molecule drugs increased by just 6.8%. By 2016, eight of the 10 top-selling drugs are expected to be biologicals.

Doctors want more details in biosimilars labelling

In the European Union (EU), labels (Summaries of Product Characteristics, SmPCs) for biosimilars and their reference products are, in many instances, almost identical despite different data requirements for the authorization of biosimilars.

Real-world safety data for epoetin alfa biosimilar

A 2-year post-marketing study of the epoetin alfa biosimilar Binocrit has found the biosimilar to be safe in daily clinical practice, according to the authors [1].

Biosimilar rituximab in biological naïve rheumatoid arthritis patients

Cost remains a major constraint in the use of originator biologicals in rheumatology in developing countries, paving the way for ever increasing usage of biosimilars. However, apart from the cost, their efficacy and safety are of tremendous interest to clinicians in both developing and developed worlds.

Insulin biosimilar meets primary endpoint in phase III studies

US pharma giant Merck announced on 13 June 2016 positive results from two phase III studies evaluating its insulin glargine biosimilar (MK-1293).

Prescribing similar biotherapeutic products in Latin America

Prescribing practices vary across different countries in Latin America and reveal gaps in understanding and in the use of distinguishable names for biologicals [1].

Improvement in uptake of biosimilars in Spain

Author Ainhoa Aranguren Oyarzábal and colleagues from the Madrid Health Service (MHS), Spain found that there has been an increase in the uptake of biosimilars in Spain since indicators were introduced [1].

Immunogenicity of biologicals: the role of post-translational modifications

Although produced under strict quality control(s) nascent endogenous proteins and glycoproteins (P/GP) are structurally heterogeneous and subject to further structural changes throughout their in vivo life cycle. A nascent polypeptide chain may be subject to co-translational modifications (CTMs) as it is extruded from the ribosome tunnel, e.g. the addition of oligosaccharide; edited for correct folding and initial oligosaccharide processing within the endoplasmic reticulum and subject to post-translational modifications (PTMs) during passage through the Golgi apparatus. The functional activity of a P/GP may be dependent on further chemical modifications (CMs), e.g. deamidation, enzymatic cleavage. These heterogeneities are compounded when determining the structure of a purified P/GP because further CMs may be introduced during its isolation, purification and characterization [1].

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