Value of Biosimilars in Women’s Health: HealthyWomen Roundtable Series Roundup

HealthyWomen, a leader in women’s health education, brought together patient groups, physicians, and industry leaders to discuss how critical biosimilars are to women’s health and how these lower-cost drugs can expand access to life-saving treatments through a series of webinars.

Many autoimmune diseases that affect women in greater numbers than men, such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis, can be treated with biosimilars, as can breast cancer and many other conditions. Despite these benefits and the fact that women tend to make household health care decisions, a HealthyWomen survey found that 70% of respondents don’t understand originator biologics or biosimilars.

Take a look at our roundup of the series here, and watch the archived conversations here, to learn more about key biosimilars topics, including innovations, overcoming patient access barriers, biosimilars’ impact on our healthcare system, and crucial patient information.

Panelists’ Quotes Highlight Key Takeaways

“For healthcare providers, the biggest thing they can do [to reach a more diverse healthcare community] is to engage their patients but also engage patient advocates so they can connect their patients to a diverse patient community.” – Brooke Abbott, Patient Thought Leader, Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation

“In the cancer space in particular these [biosimilars] are drugs that are often used in combination with other biologics to treat these cancers. Having access to a lower cost product to use in combination with another product is a great way for women to save money.” – Pam Traxel, Senior Vice President, ACS CAN

“From the FDA perspective, we really just want people to know that these products [biosimilars] are safe and effective. They are not going to act differently than the reference product. Patients and healthcare providers can rely on them for their treatment.” – Sarah Ikenberry, Senior Communication Advisor, Office of Therapeutic Biologics and Biosimilars, FDA

“Biosimilars represent a great hope in bringing down costs and increasing access for patients…It is about becoming comfortable with the concept that [biosimilars] are therapeutically equivalent [to the originator].” – Angus Worthing, M.D., Georgetown University Medical Center

“The safety of biosimilars has been pretty well determined and described. It is important for organizations to continue to do research and continue to publish experiences so more confidence and comfort can be achieved.” – Dennis Cryer, M.D. Biologics Prescribers Collaborative

“State policy and national policy can be barriers to utilization of [biosimilars]. Most states have progressive pharmacy law that allows for the pharmacy to make decisions about interchanging biosimilars. In many ways, state policy can support biosimilar use.” – Stacy Elder Dalposas, Pharm.D, MPH, Clinical Pharmacy Manager, Novant Health

“Biologic drugs, including biosimilars, represent the cutting edge of medical research. But [biologics] have also been the biggest driver of drug spending in the U.S.” said Meaghan Rose Smith. “Biosimilars, serving as the lower-cost alternative to the reference biologic, are able to save money and expand access to life-changing treatment.” – Meaghan Rose Smith, Executive Director, Biosimilars Forum

“We should be supporting women to make choices for their own health, and I think part of that is improving access to affordable medicines like biosimilars.” – Erika Satterwhite, Head of Global Policy, Viatris

“It is the competition among biologics, including biosimilars, that has the potential to reduce healthcare costs for everyone.” – James Carey, AVP, Health Policy, Merck

“Biosimilars are available, and they are a lower cost. The most important thing for our audience is to ask about them.” – Juliana Reed, Pfizer Biosimilars, President, Biosimilars Forum

“Investing in healthcare is really investing in the future of society. Biosimilar medicines offer the best hope to effectively manage diseases like cancer and chronic inflammation and also contain long term healthcare costs.” – Chad Pettit, Executive Director, Marketing, Global Biosimilars Commercial Lead, Amgen