News & Commentary

Scant knowledge of biosimilars feeds worry and wariness


Health care providers in the U.S. and Europe don’t know much about biosimilars, and what they think they know about them makes them wary, according to a review published this month in the Journal of Managed Care and Specialty Pharmacy.

Many physicians are concerned about the immunogenicity of biosimilars, this study found, when there isn’t any evidence of them being any more immunogenic than reference products.

Other physician worries include extrapolated indications (a biosimilar is approved for the reference product’s indications) and interchangeability.

This is a study of studies. Emily Leonard and her colleagues at the University of North Carolina’s Eshelman School of Pharmacy sifted through PubMed and other databases to find 20 previously published studies of health care provider knowledge and perceptions of biosimilars. Many of the studies they identified are several years old, so it is more than a little bit likely that knowledge and perceptions have changed somehat, especially with the pace of FDA approvals picking up.

Leonard and her coauthors hold out education of health care practitioners about biosimilars as the way to diminish ignorance and quell their qualms.

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