Switching Patients from Originator to Biosimilar Medications in Rheumatoid Arthritis: Limiting the ‘Nocebo’ Effect

This symposium took place on 16th June as part of the European League Against Rheumatism (EULAR) Congress 2017 in Madrid, Spain

Moderator: Chris Edwards1
Faculty: Merete Lund Hetland,2 Lars Erik Kristensen,2,3 Maria Cuadrado4

1. University of Southampton, Southampton, UK
2. University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark
3. Lund University, Lund, Sweden
4. Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospital, London, UK

Disclosure: Chris Edwards has received research support, provided consultancy, or been part of a speakers’ bureau for AbbVie, Biogen, Celgene, Celltrion, Janssen, Lilly, MSD, Mundipharma, Pfizer, Roche, Samsung, Sandoz, and Sanofi. Merete Lund Hetland has received fees for speaking and consultancy from AbbVie, Biogen, BMS, Celltrion, MSD, Pfizer, Roche, and UCB. Lars Kristensen received fees for speaking and consultancy from Pfizer, AbbVie, Amgen, UCB, Celgene, BMS, Biogen, MSD, Novartis, Eli Lilly, and Janssen. Maria Cuadrado is a member of the faculty of the Biosimilars Medical Academy supported by Biogen.
Acknowledgements: Writing assistance was provided by Rugina Ali and Phil Ford, inVentiv Health, London, UK.
Support: Biogen provided funding for the medical writing support in the development of this article. Biogen reviewed the article for medical accuracy and provided feedback to the authors. All named authors had full editorial control of the paper, and provided their final approval of all the content.
Citation: EMJ Rheumatol. 2017;4[1]:42-48.

Meeting Summary

Biosimilars have been available in Europe since 2006, and biosimilars of monoclonal antibodies since 2013, and are now a widespread clinical reality. Since their introduction, various sources of data have become available to help physicians make knowledgeable decisions about their use. For example, randomised clinical trials can demonstrate the comparable efficacy and safety between the biosimilar and its reference biologic. Real-world evidence from registries and individual clinical centres provide additional data on the actual use of biosimilars across different therapeutic indications and broader patient populations, including those who have switched from the reference biologic to the biosimilar, while offering additional understanding of the long-term safety and effectiveness. Well-informed decisions based on a solid understanding of these data are important and can help the physician guide the patient to their own well-informed decision, thereby reducing the possibility of a nocebo effect. Here we review available data sources and look at best practice examples of communicating with patients.

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