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News & Trends - Pharmaceuticals

First month of Humira biosimilar switch exceeds expectations

Health Industry Hub | May 7, 2021 |

Pharma News: Australia’s largest provider of retail biosimilars announced the success of their Humira (adalimumab) biosimilar launch, which within the first month, surpassed what the Enbrel (etanercept) biosimilar switch rate achieved in its first year.

Arrotex’s investment in this key growth area for community pharmacy comes in response to the recent listing of adalimumab biosimilars, HADLIMA and AMGEVITA, on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) on April 1, 2021.

According to Arrotex Group General Manager, Marketing, Lisa Golden, Melbourne, the rapid switch to the adalimumab biosimilar brands reflects Arrotex Biologics’ increased support of pharmacists and their patients through the provision of education, training, and resources.

“In just one month, the switch rate of our adalimumab biosimilars has surpassed what etanercept took over a year to achieve. This is an amazing result, and we attribute this success to the Arrotex Biologics pharmacy-centric strategy, strong pharmacist and patient support, and the reach of our experienced Arrotex field team.

“The dual-branded approach of promoting two of the four available adalimumab biosimilars through education, resources and in-store support from Australia’s largest pharmacy field force, has been well received by pharmacy customers, and reflected in the rapid switch of HADLIMA and AMGEVITA. This strategy is also expected to invigorate and expedite a higher switch rate on etanercept,” commented Ms Golden.

The Government’s decision to extend the biosimilar education program to June 2022, hosted by Generic and Biosimilar Medicines Association (GBMA) Education, will further strengthen the switch opportunities.

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, 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’.

Ms Golden continued “The Arrotex Biologics Patient Support Program has been well received and arms community pharmacists with the framework and infrastructure to deliver end-to-end health services and support to their valued patients.

“Both HADLIMA and AMGEVITA are ‘a’ flagged with the reference adalimumab, meaning substitution can occur at any stage of dispensing,” added Ms Golden.


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