New CaHRU publication on biosimilars in British local formularies

murraysmith1A new article entitled ‘Biosimilar uptake by British local formularies: a cross sectional study‘, authored by CaHRU member Dr Murray Smith together with colleagues at the universities of Nottingham and Manchester, was published online on September 5, 2017, in the International Journal of Clinical Pharmacy – the link to the open access article is here. The article reported research examining the uptake throughout Britain of biosimilar medicines, where these are inexact copies of biological medicines no longer protected by legal patent from copying.

medication_pillsIncreasing numbers of biosimilars are being manufactured, licensed and becoming available for use in healthcare in Britain predominantly because the biologics they seek to replace are themselves generally quite expensive for the NHS to buy. By interrogating the prescribing recommendations made in 146 local pharmaceutical formularies from NHS trusts and health boards across Britain we were able to contrast the willingness of clinicians towards prescribing a patient to a biosimilar versus that of remaining with the original biologic.

The main finding of this work is that the uptake of biosimilar medicines in Britain is generally less than would be expected especially given that its market for pharmaceuticals has typically had such a strong focus on the use of generics.

By Dr Murray Smith