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Informative video about biosimilar medicines for patients

The National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society (NRAS) has put together a video about biosimilar medicines which are entering the UK market as originator biologic medicines come off-patent. We want to encourage pharmacists and their staff to signpost suitable patients who are currently being prescribed biologics to this important new resource.

Biologic medicines for rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and other autoimmune conditions revolutionised treatment in the early 2000s. Many of these medicines are now coming off patent, which will enable other pharmaceutical manufacturers to bring their own versions of the medicines to market in the form of biosimilars.

For many people currently being treated with biologic medicines, this will mean a potential change in their treatment regimen. The video we have made will hopefully answer people’s queries and ensure everyone is aware of these new developments and what they mean for them if they become eligible for a biologic or biosimilar, or if they are likely to be switched to a biosimilar.

Approximately 20% of the 690,000 people living with RA in the UK have the severest form of the disease and, for them, biologic treatments have been the key to getting their disease under control when standard disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs have failed. Therefore, whenever any change presents itself, there are always lots of questions from our members and the wider RA population.

We also believe that the video will be helpful to all health professionals who are keen to understand more on the subject of biosimilars and how to switch patients from a biologic smoothly.

There are four key areas explored in the video. These are based on questions that people with RA have asked NRAS over the past year and have also come from the work that they have done with the Oxford Academic Health Science Network on this subject. These include:

  • the impact on patients, particularly those who are likely to be switched from an originator product to a biosimilar either now or in the future;
  • how biosimilars sit within the regulatory process in the UK;
  • how safety data will be collected; and
  • how income saved from switching might be used to improve patient services and outcomes.

The video is available to watch at: www.nras.org.uk/biosimilars

Ailsa Bosworth

Chief executive

National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society

Citation: Clinical Pharmacist DOI: 10.1211/CP.2017.20202690

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