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Research

EMA risk management plans may increase prescriber confidence in biosimilars

In the absence of observational (phase IV) data, EMA’s stipulation that all marketing applications for new generation biosimilars contain individual risk management plans may help to increase prescriber confidence in the compounds [1].

The cost-effectiveness of biosimilars

The biotechnology market is growing rapidly, driven by the imminent patent expiry of several major biologicals and enabled by the establishment of regulatory frameworks. The key driver for the biosimilars market is likely to be cost containment pressures in healthcare systems in the context of aging populations and of the current financial and economic crisis [1]. Because the medicines involved are so expensive, even a modest price reduction in percentage terms generates savings in the billions of euros over the EU as a whole [2].

Physician perceptions of generics substitution

How do physicians perceive generics substitution? Many patients do not communicate with their physicians regarding out-of-pocket expenses or medication choices. Therefore, understanding physicians’ perceptions about the quality and efficacy of generics could help to identify potential barriers to increasing the use of generic drugs [1].

Biosimilar epoetins: how similar are they?

As the patent expiry dates of the original erythropoietins drew near, much concern was expressed in 2004 about possible biosimilar competitors. Product quality, safety and efficacy of biopharmaceuticals are highly dependent on the processes of production, purification and formulation. How have these genuine concerns been answered by the EMA in granting marketing approval, and have any other problems come to light?

Relative effectiveness and cost minimisation for biosimilars

The second of two articles on the use of economic evaluations to guide the use of expensive treatment.

Economic evaluation of biosimilars

Biological drugs represent a fast-growing segment of the pharmaceutical market. They make up 32% of drugs in the development pipeline and 7.5% of marketed medicines and account for around 10% of pharmaceutical expenditure [1].

India at the biotech crossroads

‘Indian biotech is at a crossroads. It must not only address the significant health needs of its domestic population, but also position itself to take advantage of the often more profitable global marketplace.’ [1]

Interchangeability (switching and alternating) of biosimilars

The Biologics Price Competition and Innovation (BPCI) Act of 2009 established an abbreviated Biologic License Application (aBLA) pathway for the approval of biosimilars in the US. This act also established the principles of interchangeability (along with switching and alternating) with the reference product. However, the concept of biosimilarity and interchangeability for biosimilars is very different from that of bioequivalence and drug interchangeability for generics [1].

Quantitative evaluation of bioequivalence

Generics
For approval of small molecule generics, FDA requires that evidence of average bioequivalence in drug absorption in terms of pharmacokinetic (PK) parameters be provided through the conduct of bioequivalence studies. This may be done using the area under the blood and/or plasma concentration-time curve and peak concentration (Cmax) [1].

US cancer researcher calls for additional biosimilar trials

One of the leading cancer researchers in the US has called for biosimilars manufacturers to undertake additional research. In an interview with The ASCO Post, Professor Mark Pegram, MD, Professor of Medicine and Associate Director for Clinical Research, Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Miami Health System, Florida, USA, said, ‘Oncologists will be concerned about the safety of biosimilars. They will want to ensure that the chemistry, manufacturing, and composition are on par with the labelled product.’