Medscape hosts virtual symposium on biosimilars in IBD Posted 26/06/2020

Medscape held a virtual symposium on the use of biosimilars in inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) on 30 May 2020. The event covered issues including the regulatory approval process for biosimilars, research on biosimilars and switching.

Medscape, which provides educational materials for physicians and other healthcare professionals, hosted a virtual symposium entitled ‘Navigating the Use of Biosimilars in Inflammatory Bowel Disease’ on 30 May 2020.

IBD, which encompasses Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, is becoming increasingly common in much of the world. Biological treatments include tumour necrosis factor (TNF) inhibitors, such as adalimumab and infliximab.

These can be very expensive treatments. Biosimilar versions of these drugs, e.g. Remsima and Inflectra, are becoming increasingly popular and in some places their use is even mandated [1, 2]. The latest data from British Columbia, Canada, for example, shows that 28% of patients with IBD have been switched to a biosimilar version of their medication [3].

The Medscape event, which was aimed at gastroenterologists and primary care physicians, explained that the regulatory process for biosimilars ensures that they have no clinically meaningful differences to the originator. Biosimilars are particularly important in the context of IBD, where medication costs can be significant. There was also dedicated time for explaining the key considerations for switching a patient to biosimilar and on educating patients on biosimilars.

Overall, the symposium was intended to improve attendees’ knowledge of the regulatory process for biosimilars, strategies on educating patients, and how to apply real-world data on biosimilars for the treatment of IBD.

The event was supported by an educational grant from pharmaceutical company Pfizer.

Recent statements from the Swiss Society of Gastroenterology [4] and Canadian Association of Gastroenterology [5] have discussed in further detail the key issues surrounding biosimilar use in IBD, including extrapolation, interchangeability and switching.

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References
1. GaBI Online - Generics and Biosimilars Initiative. Canada’s British Columbia to switch patients to biosimilars [www.gabionline.net]. Mol, Belgium: Pro Pharma Communications International; [cited 2020 Jun 26]. Available from: www.gabionline.net/Policies-Legislation/Canada-s-British-Columbia-to-switch-patients-to-biosimilars
2. GaBI Online - Generics and Biosimilars Initiative. Ontario becomes third Canadian province to switch patients to biosimilars [www.gabionline.net]. Mol, Belgium: Pro Pharma Communications International [cited 2020 Jun 26]. Available from: www.gabionline.net/Biosimilars/General/Ontario-becomes-third-Canadian-province-to-switch-patients-to-biosimilars
3. GaBI Online - Generics and Biosimilars Initiative. British Columbia releases latest data on biosimilar switches [www.gabionline.net]. Mol, Belgium: Pro Pharma Communications International [cited 2020 Jun 26]. Available from: www.gabionline.net/Biosimilars/General/British-Columbia-releases-latest-data-on-biosimilar-switches
4. GaBI Online - Generics and Biosimilars Initiative. Swiss position statement on the use of biosimilars in IBD [www.gabionline.net]. Mol, Belgium: Pro Pharma Communications International [cited 2020 Jun 26]. Available from: www.gabionline.net/Biosimilars/General/Swiss-position-statement-on-the-use-of-biosimilars-in-IBD
5. GaBI Online - Generics and Biosimilars Initiative. Canadian gastroenterologists issue biosimilar position statement [www.gabionline.net]. Mol, Belgium: Pro Pharma Communications International [cited 2020 Jun 26]. Available from: www.gabionline.net/Biosimilars/General/Canadian-gastroenterologists-issue-biosimilar-position-statement

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Source: Medscape

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