Cancer Physicians Debate Biosimilars Uptake

Oncologist opinions on biosimilars and their impact on various market factors


Medicine  pillsA number of the doctors interviewed by HemOnc Today disclosed affiliations with pharmaceutical companies, but their views still provide interesting insight to prevailing attitudes to biosimilars and health care.

Uncertainty exists around the safety and efficacy of biosimilars, given they are similar, not identical to, their reference products. Insufficient understanding of the science behind this new class of drug also colours the opinions of many doctors. Naming conventions are another grey area, along with the issue of substitution – in particular, a physician’s involvement in that process.

Doctor using a digital tablet PC.For Louis M. Weiner, MD, director of Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center at Georgetown University, the main difference between biosimilars and originator compounds is the “disproportionate amount of the cost and time” involved in the clinical evaluation stage of drug development for both originator biologics and biosimilars. The reference drug must prove its value in a particular disease setting, while the biosimilar, must prove its similarity to the original.   

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