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a eu flag imageDecember 5 2017

An information pack explaining biosimilar medicines in a question and answer format has been published for patients across Europe. A follow up pack for healthcare professionals is expected in the first half of 2018.

The document, ‘What I need to know about Biosimilar Medicines – Information for patients’, is now available in 23 languages and has been published by the European Commission. It describes biological medicines, what a biosimilar is, and how these should not be regarded as generic equivalents. It also discusses how the products are developed and approved in the European Union, how indications are approved, availability of products in countries, and usage.

Medicines for Europe, the body representing manufacturers of generic, biosimilar and value-added medicines, said: “In Europe, the introduction of biosimilar medicines brings competition, with the potential to improve patient access to biological medicines and contribute to healthcare system sustainability. 

“Biosimilar medicines help treat many complex diseases, including cancer, diabetes, and autoimmune diseases (such as rheumatoid arthritis and inflammatory bowel disease). Biosimilar medicines have been used safely in the EU since 2006 as an alternative to reference medicines.”

NHS England is currently assessing uptake of biosimilars by clinical commissioning groups. This follows publication of the Commissioning Framework for Biological Medicines, including biosimilar medicines in September 2017.

The joint NHS England and NHS Improvement Regional Pharmacists were asked to develop a template “to assess CCG uptake of best value biological medicines with a view to ensuring plans are in place for each region by early 2018. All CCGs are asked to complete the template and return to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. by 5pm, December 22 2017.”

European Commission announcement   
EC ‘What I need to know about Biosimilar Medicines – Information for patients’  
Medicines for Europe statement                  
NHS England Commissioning framework for biological medicines                

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