Many patients haven’t heard of “Biosimilars,” generic versions of complex biotech drugs, and even some who say they’re familiar with these medicines may still be confused about them, a small European survey suggests.To see what patients know about biosimilars, researchers analyzed data from online surveys completed by 1,181 patients with irritable bowel disease or Crohn’s disease, chronic intestinal problems that are increasingly treated with biosimilars.
When researchers asked these 383 people more questions to see what they knew about these medicines, 47 percent said they worried about whether the copies were safe and 40 percent said they had concerns about whether the generics were effective, researchers report in the Journal of Crohn’s and Colitis.
“Should patients really be worried? No,” said Miller, who has served on expert panels advising U.S. drug regulators about biosimilars.
The study by Dr. Laurent Peyrin-Biroulet of Nancy University Hospital and the University of Lorraine in France also found most patients were more concerned about the safety and effectiveness of biosimilars than whether they were a lower-priced alternative to brand name biotech drugs. Only about 25 percent of the participants who were familiar with biosimilars said they didn’t have any concerns about these medicines, the study found.
“Some patients may rightly have questions and concerns about biosimilar products – this is understandable and it is important that clinicians and health systems and other stakeholders work to address these questions and ensure that any misconceptions about these products are addressed,” Alexander said.