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International promotion and education for biosimilars Posted 14/12/2018

International initiatives to promote the use of biosimilars and improve their understanding is just one of the subjects investigated by a report published by the Canadian Agency for Drugs and Technologies in Health (CADTH) [1].

The report investigated International initiatives to promote the use of biosimilars and improve their understanding in Australia, New Zealand, Finland, France, Germany, The Netherlands, Norway, the UK and the US to encourage the use of biosimilars.

The report found several educational and awareness initiatives at the national or organization level in most of the countries studied. These initiatives are geared toward raising awareness and encouraging the use of and access to biosimilars.

In the US, both the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and industry are engaged in efforts to educate stakeholders. In October 2017, FDA announced the Biosimilars Education and Outreach Campaign to increase healthcare professionals’ knowledge and understanding of biosimilars [2]. In February 2016, the Biosimilars Forum (a non-profit organization) launched an initiative, Partnership for Biosimilars Education and Access, to raise awareness and encourage access to biosimilars in the US [3].

Similarly, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) has published various informational materials as part of its ongoing collaboration to improve understanding of biosimilars across the European Union. These include an animated video for patients, a biosimilars guide for healthcare professionals, and questions and answers on biosimilars for patients [4].

The UK has published a commissioning framework document for biologicals, which encourages optimized use of biosimilars. A biosimilar guide – What is a Biosimilar Medicine – was also published by the National Health Service (NHS), physician associations and industry, containing information on how to ‘support the safe, effective and consistent use of all biological medicines, including biosimilar medicines, to the benefit of patients’.

In Germany, France, Norway and The Netherlands, there are specific educational programmes focus on educating physicians, pharmacists and other stakeholders to encourage the use of biosimilars.

In Australia, the Department of Health launched Biosimilar Awareness Initiative (as a part of the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme Access and Sustainability Package) [5]. The initiative supports ‘awareness of, and confidence in, the use of biosimilar medicines for healthcare professionals and consumers’.

In Finland and New Zealand, no specific initiatives were identified.

Related articles
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International supply side policies for biosimilars

International policies for interchangeability, switching and substitution of biosimilars

Canadian report into international policies for biosimilars

References
1. CADTH Environmental Scan. International policies on the appropriate use of biosimilar drugs. October 2018 [homepage on the Internet]. [cited 2018 Dec 14]. Available from: www.cadth.ca/sites/default/files/pdf/es0333_international-policies-on-use-of-biosimilar-drugs.pdf
2. GaBI Online - Generics and Biosimilars Initiative. Update on the biosimilar programme in the US [www.gabionline.net]. Mol, Belgium: Pro Pharma Communications International; [cited 2018 Dec 14]. Available from: www.gabionline.net/Reports/Update-on-the-biosimilar-programme-in-the-US
3. GaBI Online - Generics and Biosimilars Initiative. Launch of partnership for biosimilars education and access [www.gabionline.net]. Mol, Belgium: Pro Pharma Communications International; [cited 2018 Dec 14]. Available from: www.gabionline.net/Biosimilars/General/Launch-of-partnership-for-biosimilars-education-and-access
4. GaBI Online - Generics and Biosimilars Initiative. EC publishes biosimilar Q&A document for patients in 23 languages [www.gabionline.net]. Mol, Belgium: Pro Pharma Communications International; [cited 2018 Dec 14]. Available from: www.gabionline.net/Biosimilars/General/EC-publishes-biosimilar-Q-A-document-for-patients-in-23-languages
5. GaBI Online - Generics and Biosimilars Initiative. Australia encouraging biosimilars and mandating drug shortage reporting [www.gabionline.net]. Mol, Belgium: Pro Pharma Communications International; [cited 2018 Dec 14]. Available from: www.gabionline.net/Policies-Legislation/Australia-encouraging-biosimilars-and-mandating-drug-shortage-reporting 

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Source: CADTH

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