What are biosimilars?
Biosimilars are biologics that are highly similar—yet not identical— to a reference product. Before a biosimilar goes to market, its manufacturer must conduct studies to show it is highly similar to the reference product. Biosimilar products go through a rigorous FDA approval process to make sure they are safe, pure, and effective. From a clinical perspective, there is no meaningful difference between a reference product and its biosimilar.
Differences between generics and biosimilars
Biosimilars are not generics. Generics are exact copies of synthetic pharmaceuticals and the active ingredients must be the same as a brand name drug. Biosimilars are copies of biologics, which are medications made with living cells. They can have slight differences in clinically inactive components. The important thing to remember is there is no difference in how a biosimilar and its reference product treats your patients’ conditions.
Since IBD symptoms can be severe, maintaining a stable condition is important for IBD management. Patients who were on infliximab, reference product or biosimilar, can remain stable after switching to another biosimilar, without major safety concerns.
Nabeel khan, MD, Associate Professor of Clinical Medicine, University of Pennsylvania
What to know about biosimilars
As a specialty provider, you make choices every day about what medications to prescribe. A biosimilar and its reference product will provide the same clinical results for your patients. We want you to feel confident in your decision to pick biosimilars for your patients. We are here to support you with innovative solutions to help increase access to emerging therapies, like biosimilars. As a clinician, you can help drive long-term stability in the biosimilars market. As your strategic GPO partner, we provide your practice with easier access to biosimilars entering the market so you can make the best choice for your patients' care.
As a practice administrator, you keep things running smoothly and this includes ensuring financial stability for your practice. You may worry about the cost of biosimilars and whether or not the practice will be reimbursed. There is no need to worry. Biosimilars are often cheaper for specialty physician practices than their reference products. Both Medicare and private insurers support the use of biosimilars and reimburse at a competitive rate. Plus, upcoming legislation has the potential to positively impact reimbursement. That’s a win-win. You can be confident that your practice’s finances will sustain or improve when your clinicians choose biosimilar products.
Your patients may be uncertain about biosimilars. Yet, they trust you, their specialty physician. You can help them understand that biosimilars are safe and effective. Patients can expect the same health outcomes if you prescribe a biosimilar instead of its reference product. Biosimilars can also save patients money as they often pay less out-of-pocket. As trusted advisors, specialty physicians should recommend biosimilar use. Think about adding a “substitute biosimilars” option to your patient consent forms to incorporate them into care plans. Start a conversation with patients to answer their questions and build their trust.
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Insights from our experts
Five Years on, Biosimilars Need Support from All Health Care Players
Sean McGowen, senior director of biosimilars at AmeriourceBergen, argues that all the players along supply chain must cooperate to help the biosimilar market grow.
Biosimilars – Let’s Not Throw the Baby Out with the Bathwater
Steve Collis, Chairman, President & CEO of AmerisourceBergen reflects on addressing misconceptions about biosimilars as a way to lower healthcare costs.
5 Years of Biosimilars in the US: What Have We Learned?
Sean McGowen discusses the need for comprehensive launch strategies, better provider education, and stronger advocacy efforts to move the biosimilar market.
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