NHS England has set a target for the uptake of biosimilars. In order to save £200-300m p.a the aim is that at least 90% of new patients will be prescribed the best value biological medicine within 3 months of launch of a biosimilar medicine, and at least 80% of existing patients within 12 months, or sooner if possible. That is a fairly challenging target for many health economies.
The difficulty that immediately springs to mind is that the users of the originator drug may have no real incentive to switch. They’re happy with what they’ve got. They’re reimbursed for what they use, so they have no financial incentive. And from the quality point of view, they know the characteristics of the treatment they’re using, whereas there may be a little question mark in their minds as to whether the new product will prove to be as satisfactory in practice as it has apparently been in clinical trials.
So how does the commissioner encourage change? One or two commissioners may decide simply to tell providers what they expect them to do, or to use financial penalties if they do not switch promptly. However, there may be good clinical or service reasons why an abrupt change is unwise.
This is just one of the questions we will be addressing at our Biosimilars conference on 1st November. You’ve never had an opportunity like this to discuss the introduction of biosimilars with all stakeholders present. We’re working with UKCPA, the British Oncology Pharmacy Association (BOPA) and Rheumatology Pharmacists UK to make this a day to remember. Come and be part of it.
Agenda and booking at https://www.pharman.co.uk/events/2017/11/biosimilars-how-will-pharmacy-manage-the-challenge