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New Paper Explores How Biosimilars Expand Cancer Treatment Options

June 29, 2021 GMT

WASHINGTON, June 29, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- A new paper from the Alliance for Patient Access (AfPA), a national nonprofit patient advocacy organization, explores how biosimilars offer more treatment options for people living with cancer. Authored by oncologists Arturo Loaiza-Bonilla, MD, and Jeffrey VanDeusen, MD, PhD, the paper calls for robust data to boost physician confidence as well as the autonomy to make personalized treatment decisions.

Biosimilars are follow-on versions of originator biologics that are created from living systems. Biologics, including biosimilars, are typically injected or infused to treat conditions such as arthritis, high cholesterol, migraine or cancer.


Biosimilars stand to benefit both physicians and cancer patients in several ways, the paper explains.

  • Increasing treatment options. More treatments mean more opportunities to tailor care.

  • Lowering costs. Biosimilars often come at a lower price than innovator products.

  • Offering alternatives. If a patient experiences side effects with a biologic, biosimilars may offer a timely substitute.

  • Filling logistical gaps. In the case of shortages or supply chain disruptions, as observed during the COVID-19 pandemic, patients can continue treatment without interruption.

Having more treatments options, however, doesn’t necessarily mean having one’s choice of treatment.

Health plans typically select their preferred drug and give it priority coverage, the paper notes. They may also change their preferred drugs periodically, or revise their formulary of approved drugs to exclude certain medications. These changes can result in non-medical switching, where patients must switch drugs or pay more out of pocket to stay on their current treatment.

The paper reinforces the need for shared decision-making between patients and their providers and policies that support access to all cancer care options.




About Alliance for Patient Access
Founded in 2006, AfPA is a national network of policy-minded health care providers who advocate for patient-centered care. AfPA supports health policies that reinforce clinical decision making, promote personalized care and protect the physician-patient relationship. Motivated by these principles, AfPA members participate in clinician working groups, advocacy initiatives, stakeholder coalitions and the creation of educational materials.

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SOURCE Alliance for Patient Access