Accord has once again teamed up with Pharmabuddy to provide pharmacists with further information on Biosimilar medicines.
In 2017 The National Cancer Control Programme (NCCP) stated that biosimilars and generics represent some of the ways forward to obtain sustainability and maximise the funding for new medicines to be made available for patient treatment1.
Biosimilars have been approved in the EU since 2006 and although the EU is the most advanced adopter of biosimilars, Ireland has one of the lowest biosimilar penetration levels across Europe2. Why is this when the European Medicines Agency says that biosimilars have no clinically meaningful difference compared with the reference medicine3.
“We know that the HSE had already spent all its ‘new medicines’ budget for the year by April, yet there is still no biosimilar policy in Ireland, which is alarming, as biosimilars provide the opportunity to increase patient access by delivering additional savings and allow resources to be directed toward new innovative medicines2 that could potentially make a difference, says Padraic O’Brien, Accord’s Head of Commercial.
“Accord launched Pelgraz in December 2018, our second biosimilar, which underlines our commitment and expertise to oncology, following on from the launch of our first biosimilar Accofil in 2016. Like our work in generic substitution, we along with our MFI colleagues have delivered €1.6 billion in savings to the Irish State since 20134 and we can deliver more, if a robust biosimilar policy is developed in Ireland” adds Mr O’Brien.
“Irish patients deserve the same access to medicines as patients across Europe, and one way to help free up the HSE budget is to increase the use of biosimilars in the Irish market, we can all play our part. That’s why we have once again teamed up with Pharmabuddy to create an informative video to answer any outstanding questions pharmacists may have on biosimilars, explains Mr O’Brien.
J.J. Keating, Lecturer of Organic and Pharmaceutical Chemistry, School of Pharmacy, University College Cork, answers questions posed on biosimilars such as:
- Is the administration device and formulation of a biosimilar medicine identical to its reference medicine?
- Is the method of administration of a biosimilar medicine identical to that of its reference medicine?
- Are the storage conditions of a biosimilar medicine the same as that of its reference medicine?
- Where can I find within the SPC of a medicine whether or not it is a biosimilar medicine?
- Are there any additional records I should be keeping on the patients PMR when dispensing a biosimilar or biologic medicine to a patient?
- What is the best course of action if you receive a High Tech prescription for a biologic drug and the brand of that biologic is not stated on the prescription?
- How could I as a community pharmacist help to increase or encourage biosimilar use amongst my patients or their prescribers?
Speaking at the launch Dr Paul Ryan, Pharmabuddy Medical Director said “with over 4,000 registered Irish pharmacists, Pharmabuddy.ie is the number one platform used by Irish pharmacists to communicate in Ireland. We offer CPD modules on a range of different topics and are really excited to launch this module on biosimilars, which we believe will be of great assistance to our members.’
We had excellent feedback from pharmacists on our Hi Tech Hub Demo video created earlier in the year and wanted to follow that up with an equally relevant video this time on biosimilars. The biosimilar video is available to all registered Pharmabuddy members on their website, www.pharmabuddy.ie.
“I would encourage all pharmacists to log onto the Pharmabuddy website and view this highly informative video, then call your Accord representative to schedule a meeting, to see what savings you can make for the state, for patients and for your own business”, concluded Mr. O’Brien.