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Spanish gastroenterologists update biosimilar position statement

The Spanish Society of Gastroenterology (Sociedad Española de Patología Digestiva,SEPD) has updated its position statement on the use of biosimilars for inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) [1]. The changes in the society’s position reflect the increasing body of evidence supporting the safety and efficacy of biosimilars.

Government policies to maximize social benefit of biosimilars in countries with restricted access to biologicals

The potential value of biosimilars is dependent on patient access to originator biologicals in a given country. If the originator biological is reimbursed without any volume and access restrictions, the main objective of using biosimilars is to generate savings in health expenditures without compromising health outcomes. This disinvestment scenario is mainly applicable for higher income countries. If the original biological product is reimbursed with volume and access restrictions, the main objective of biosimilars is to treat more patients from the same healthcare budget, and hence generate more health gain. This special investment scenario is applicable for lower income European Union (EU) Member States and other middle-income countries. If the originator biological is not reimbursed at all, more affordable biosimilars may create an opportunity for public reimbursement, however, incremental budget is needed to generate more health gain. This investment scenario is applicable for low-income countries [1].

Yoshindo and Lupin’s etanercept biosimilar completes trials

YL Biologics announced on 7 February 2018 that the global phase III trials of its etanercept biosimilar have been a success. YL Biologics is a joint venture of India’s Lupin Ltd and Japanese firm Yoshindo that was first announced in 2014 [1]. The etanercept biosimilar has met a successful outcome for rheumatoid arthritis treatment and hopes to compete for a share of the originator Enbrel’s global market of US$11 billion.

PK and PD comparison between rituximab biosimilar RTXM83 and rituximab in diffuse large B-cell lymphoma patients

A requirement for registration of a biosimilar is to demonstrate pharmacokinetic (PK) similarity with the reference product. A population PK model approach is an excellent method for assessing PK similarity, in contrast to the classical one, because it allows comparison of PK properties through the inclusion of sparse data that improves the power to detect any potential differences between the biosimilar and the reference product. Furthermore, the population approach allows quantification of the inter-product and inter-subject variability of PK parameters and identification of covariate factors (demographic, pathophysiological, environmental or concomitant drugs) that influence drug availability [1].

Follow-on biologicals and extrapolation in Brazil

Researchers from Brazil discuss the country’s approach to follow-on biologicals and extrapolation of indications in the country [1].

Biosimilar policies around the globe

With the authorization of an increasing number of biosimilars, and the prospect of multiple biosimilar switching, biosimilar naming and the importance of this for pharmacovigilance are coming into sharper focus.  Authors from around the world considered various biosimilar issues/policies in different countries and regions [1].

ASCO issues position statement on biosimilars in oncology

The American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) has issued a position statement on biosimilars in oncology. The statement reflects the society’s views on issues such as naming, labelling, safety and efficacy, interchangeability, switching and substitution of biosimilars, as well as on the value of biosimilars and prescriber and patient education [1].

Use and cost of biologicals for cancer treatment in Southern Italy

Oncological-targeted therapies, both biological and non-biological, represent a significant clinical and economic burden in routine care and have a major impact on the sustainability of National Health Services. With this in mind, a study by Lucchesi et al. investigated the use and costs of these targeted therapies for cancer treatment in the general population of Southern Italy during the period 2010−2014 [1].

Structure-function relationship between disulfide bonds and TNF-α neutralization in etanercept

Research carried out by Sandoz describes how a novel incorrect disulfide bridge structure present at low levels in commercial etanercept inhibits etanercept potency by reducing its ability to neutralize soluble tumour necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α) [1].

Pharmacy-mediated substitution: the global policy landscape

There is a complex global regulatory landscape when it comes to biosimilars. In particular, there is much debate over substitution practices. Substitution describes the practice where a pharmacist decides to change a product, dispensing an equivalent (generic small molecule) or highly similar product (biosimilar) without the prescribing physician’s prior consent. This is distinct from switching, whereby a physician changes a patient’s treatment, between reference product and a biosimilar, or between biosimilars. Between March and May 2017, Pfizer conducted an internal global survey of 82 countries in which it examined biosimilar pharmacy-mediated substitution. Here, the company hoped to understand and benchmark the global policy landscape [1].