Pharmacy Times (04/15/15) Oldfield, Eileen

As biosimilars draw more attention, community pharmacists should be prepared to assist patients and answer questions about the agents. Steven Lucio, PharmD, BCPS, senior director of Clinical Solutions and Pharmacy Program Development at Novation, notes that pharmacists will have to ensure that patients are taking their medications as prescribed and that there is no confusion between biosimilars and branded medications. Biosimilars will likely have a greater impact on community pharmacies as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approves more agents and when the therapies receive the interchangeability designation that can lead to biosimilar substitution. It may take time for the newly approved Zarxio to reach patients, due to fluctuations in the biosimilar pathway and the biosimilar market as well as patent litigation. Physicians also must specifically prescribe a biosimilar, expert organizations must incorporate the product into clinical practice guidelines, and patients must accept it as a therapy option. The FDA has not yet released a final stance on biosimilar naming conventions, nor established criteria for biosimilar interchangeability.

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