As trusted partners for patients, pharmacists have a critical role to play in educating consumers about biosimilar medicines. Biosimilars are more affordable versions of expensive biologic medicines for patients with a wide range of conditions. Use of biosimilars can reduce costs and expand access to care for patients with conditions such as cancer, arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, kidney disease, diabetes, macular degeneration, and psoriasis. The pharmacist-patient relationship is unique, with pharmacists providing critical insight and guidance on the proper use of medicines and fostering patient confidence and understanding of biosimilars.
Pharmacists Can Help Spur Greater Biosimilar Adoption
In recognition of October as National Pharmacists Month, the Biosimilars Council celebrates these important partnerships. We are pleased to continue our collaboration with the American Pharmacists Association to update their “Biosimilar Basics for Patients” and “Show You Know Biosimilars” resources. Together, these educational materials introduce pharmacists and patients to the fundamentals of biosimilars, explain key concepts such as interchangeability, answer questions about biosimilar safety and efficacy, test one’s foundational understanding of biosimilars and point them to additional educational resources.
Equipping pharmacists with accurate information about biosimilars ensures that pharmacists can help patients benefit from lower-cost biosimilars. Indeed, the recently released 2022 US Generic and Biosimilar Medicines Savings Report found that last year alone, the use of biosimilars generated more than $7 billion in savings, leading to a real and significant impact on patient care. Already, biosimilars have been used in more than 364 million days of patient therapy and allowed for more than 150 million days of patient therapy that otherwise would not have happened.
Looking ahead to 2023, pharmacists will have an increasingly important role with patient education. Until recently, biosimilars have been available for patients seeking treatment for conditions that require a physician to administer the medication in-office. But starting next year, several biosimilars will become available to patients through their pharmacy benefit. This means that pharmacists will have a heightened role providing information and education and instilling confidence in these products to a new wave of patients who had previously relied on the brand biologic product.
As more biosimilars come to market, it’ll be more important than ever that pharmacists have the information and language they need to inform their patients about the safety, efficacy, and availability of these products.These partnerships between the Biosimilars Council and the pharmacy community are critical to ensuring that patients have access to biosimilars and that patients realize the full value of biosimilar savings.
About the Biosimilars Council
The Biosimilars Council, a division of the Association for Accessible Medicines (AAM), works to ensure a positive environment for patient access to biosimilar medicines. The Biosimilars Council is a leading source for information about the safety and efficacy of more affordable alternatives to costly brand biologic medicines. Areas of focus include public and health expert education, strategic partnerships, government affairs, legal affairs and regulatory policy. More information is available on our about page.
AAM is driven by the belief that access to safe, quality, effective medicine has a tremendous impact on a person’s life and the world around them. Generic and biosimilar medicines improve people’s lives, improving society and the economy in turn. AAM represents the manufacturers and distributors of finished generic pharmaceuticals and biosimilars, manufacturers and distributors of bulk pharmaceutical chemicals, and suppliers of other goods and services to the generic industry. Generic pharmaceuticals are 90 percent of prescriptions dispensed in the U.S. but only 20 percent of total drug spending.