Biosimilar medicines support the sustainability of national healthcare systems, by reducing costs of biological therapies through increased competition. However, their adoption into clinical practice largely depends on the acceptance of healthcare providers and patients. Patients are different from health care professionals (HCPs), who are informing themselves professionally. For patients, the biosimilar debate only becomes actual when they are confronted with disease and drug choices. This paper provides a literature review on how patients are and should be informed about biosimilars, searching in scientific databases (i.e., Medline, Embase). Several large surveys have shown a lack of knowledge and trust in biosimilars among European patients in recent years. This review identified five main strategies to inform patients about biosimilars: (1) provide understandable information, (2) in a positive and transparent way, (3) tailored to the individual’s needs, (4) with one voice, and (5) supported by audiovisual material. Moreover, the importance of a multistakeholder approach was underlined by describing the role of each stakeholder. Patients are a large and diffuse target group to be reached by educational programs. Therefore, patient associations have become increasingly important in correctly informing patients about biosimilar medicines. This has led to widespread biosimilar information for patients among European patient associations. Therefore, a web-based screening of European Patients’ Forum (EPF) and International Alliance of Patients’ Organizations (IAPO) member organizations on publicly available information about biosimilars was performed. We found that the level of detail, correctness, and the tone of the provided information varied. In conclusion, it is paramount to set up a close collaboration between all stakeholders to communicate, develop, and disseminate factual information about biosimilars for patients.

Biological, Biosimilar, Communication, Education, Europe, Information, Patient
dx.doi.org/10.3390/ph14020117, hdl.handle.net/1765/134915
Pharmaceuticals
Department of Pharmacy

Vandenplas, Y. (Yannick), Simoens, S, Van Wilder, P. (Philippe), Vulto, A.G, & Huys, I. (Isabelle). (2021). Informing patients about biosimilar medicines: The role of European patient associations. Pharmaceuticals (Vol. 14, pp. 1–21). doi:10.3390/ph14020117