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ABPI and BIA to support understanding of biosimilars

Trade bodies work together on communication materials for prescribers
ABPI London offices

The two leading UK trade bodies for the life sciences industry have published new materials to help healthcare professionals understand biosimilar medicines.

The Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) and the Bioindustry Association (BIA) produced the documents in response to the growing importance of biosimilars, which are copies of biological drugs.

For 2013 the global value of biosimilars was over $2.4bn, according to market research specialists Visiongain, while over the next five years they are on track to grow to $23bn, based on an analysis by Frost & Sullivan. This growth is to be driven by the patent expiries of major biological products such as Sanofi's insulin Lantus, with Lilly and Boehringer Ingelheim partnering on a copy called Abasria.

The ABPI and the BIA said they aimed to address frequently asked questions from healthcare professionals who may not know the full facts about biosimilar medicines.

Highlights include that since 2006, more than 18 branded biosimilar medicines have been granted marketing authorisations in the EU and that biosimilars are expected to enter a much wider range of therapy areas, including rheumatoid arthritis, oncology and diabetes.

The ABPI and the BIA also recommend that all biological medicines, including biosimilar medicines, should be prescribed by brand name and not by the name of the active ingredient – an issue that has caused much debate in the US.

ABPI director of value and access, Paul Catchpole, said: “A number of ABPI and BIA members are developing biosimilar medicines and we are therefore building relationships with key stakeholders to improve understanding of biological medicines, including biosimilar medicines.”

“These new informative materials will assist in ensuring that these medicines are well understood and used appropriately for the benefit of all eligible NHS patients.”

BIA chief executive officer Steve Bates said of the new materials: “We hope that they will assist healthcare professionals in particular to be aware of, and better understand the challenges of, the introduction of biosimilar medicines to the NHS.”

Article by
Tara Craig

22nd July 2014

From: Marketing, Healthcare

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