Video

Dr Fran Gregory Discusses the Implications of a New Wave of Biosimilars

Fran Gregory, PharmD, vice president of emerging therapies at Cardinal Health, discusses what's to come as a result of a "second wave" of biosimilars hitting the market.

Biosimilars will add to the accessibility of medications for patients, says Fran Gregory, PharmD, vice president of emerging therapies at Cardinal Health.

Transcript

What is the significance of the second wave in the context of specialty pharmacy?

I think the significance when we think about the second wave of biosimilars is that there are going to be a large number of them coming relatively quickly. So, we talked about the adalimumab biosimilars, [with] 9 to 12 of them coming to market in 2023.

Just thinking about managing all have that, and then of course, we mentioned there being more therapeutic categories that will also be in that specialty pharmacy realm. And one of the misconceptions of specialty pharmacies is that they are pharmacy benefit drug managers. However, specialty pharmacies actually do manage medical benefit drugs as well.

If we think about natalizumab and SOLIRIS biosimilar for PNH [paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria] that I mentioned previously; those drugs are typically built on the medical benefits. They will see some more specialty pharmacy engagement on both the pharmacy and the medical benefits side, whereas previously, really, we only saw those oncology products going primarily through the oncology offices or sometimes rheumatology offices with some of those products.

What are the potential implications of this new wave of biosimilars for specialty pharmacy practices?

A few things really come to mind when I think about that. Specialty pharmacies and specialty pharmacists want to make sure their patients have the most clinically appropriate product, and that they can afford that product, and that that patient is adherent to the product, and they can manage any adverse events just like they would with a reference product. So, biosimilars really just add to the accessibility of the medications for patients.

Specialty pharmacies will also need to make sure that they understand the patient assistance programs and any financial support that is available for biosimilars as they did with many of these reference products. Most of the biosimilar manufacturers are coming to market with products that offer similar benefits that the reference product also offers. So, you'll see these biosimilars coming to market with patient assistance programs, with copay coupons, with all those different services that help patients ensure accessibility to their medications.

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