7 May 2021
Australia’s patients, prescribers and pharmacists will be the key beneficiaries from a decision of the Government to extend the biosimilar education program, hosted by Generic and Biosimilar Medicines Association (GBMA) Education, to June 2022.
The Chief Executive Officer of the GBMA and GBMA Education, Ms Marnie Peterson, said the extension of the Biosimilar grant underscored the important role the awareness campaign has played in boosting confidence in the use of biosimilar brands of biological medicines that are listed on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS).
Research, commissioned by GBMA Education, and funded by the Australian Government under the grant, (released late last year) showed that prescriber confidence to switch a patient to a biosimilar medicine, markedly increased by 52% (from 44% to 67%) since the initial 2016 benchmark ‘Market Research Report’.
Community pharmacist experience with biosimilar medicines also increased dramatically by 77% with 84% of this cohort reporting confidence in counselling a patient on a biosimilar medicine. At the same time, their hospital counterparts recorded the highest confidence (90%) in dispensing biosimilar medicines.
Significantly, 81% of consumers also expressed confidence in taking biosimilar medicines when prompted with basic information. This was a 12.5% increase since 2016.
“Like generic medicines, biosimilar brands of biologic medicines are gaining more and more traction globally and in Australia,” said Ms Peterson. “We know that by continuing to educate and engage proactively with specialists, general practitioners, pharmacists, practice nurses and patients through initiatives such as our annual Biosimilar Awareness Week, more biosimilars will be prescribed.
This creates even more fiscal headroom on the PBS that could potentially allow new innovative treatments to be funded.”
“On behalf of the Australian health community, we thank the Minister for Health and Aged Care, the Hon Greg Hunt MP, and his hardworking team at the Department of Health, for recognising that whilst GBMA Education has been very successful in harnessing greater understanding and confidence in biosimilars, more work needs to be done,” Ms Peterson said. “We want to ensure biosimilars are accepted as being equivalent in safety and efficacy in comparison to original brands of biological medicines.
GBMA Education will host another Biosimilar Awareness Week later this year. ENDS
For more information about GBMA Education and biosimilars, please visit www.biosimilarhub.com.au
ABOUT GBMA EDUCATION
GBMA Education is the educational arm of the Generic and Biosimilar Medicines Association (GBMA), which is the representative body of generic and biosimilar medicine suppliers in Australia. GBMA Education was awarded the Biosimilar Education Grant by the Australian Government in April 2018.
The purpose of the Biosimilar Education Grant, awarded to GBMA Education by the Australian Government, is to increase confidence in the use of biosimilar brands of biological medicines that are listed on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS). In order for biosimilar medicines to increase market competition and improve the Government’s capacity to fund expanded access to biological medicines as they become more affordable, healthcare professional acceptance and confidence about biosimilar medicines must increase.
GBMA Education acknowledges the provision of funding by the Australian Government for the Biosimilar Education Grant Program.
The Generic and Biosimilar Medicines Association (GBMA) is the peak representative body of generic and biosimilar medicine suppliers in Australia. Its members ensure that all Australians are offered the highest quality generic and biosimilar medicines in the world whilst providing affordable community health outcomes that benefit all Australians.