JOURNAL ARTICLE
REVIEW

Biosimilars: what clinicians should know

Martina Weise, Marie-Christine Bielsky, Karen De Smet, Falk Ehmann, Niklas Ekman, Thijs J Giezen, Iordanis Gravanis, Hans-Karl Heim, Esa Heinonen, Kowid Ho, Alexandre Moreau, Gopalan Narayanan, Nanna A Kruse, Gabriele Reichmann, Robin Thorpe, Leon van Aerts, Camille Vleminckx, Meenu Wadhwa, Christian K Schneider
Blood 2012 December 20, 120 (26): 5111-7
23093622
Biosimilar medicinal products (biosimilars) have become a reality in the European Union and will soon be available in the United States. Despite an established legal pathway for biosimilars in the European Union since 2005 and increasing and detailed regulatory guidance on data requirements for their development and licensing, many clinicians, particularly oncologists, are reluctant to consider biosimilars as a treatment option for their patients. Major concerns voiced about biosimilars relate to their pharmaceutical quality, safety (especially immunogenicity), efficacy (particularly in extrapolated indications), and interchangeability with the originator product. In this article, the members and experts of the Working Party on Similar Biologic Medicinal Products of the European Medicines Agency (EMA) address these issues. A clear understanding of the scientific principles of the biosimilar concept and access to unbiased information on licensed biosimilars are important for physicians to make informed and appropriate treatment choices for their patients. This will become even more important with the advent of biosimilar monoclonal antibodies. The issues also highlight the need for improved communication between physicians, learned societies, and regulators.

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