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Laura Wingate: Biosimilars Can Improve Access to Treatment for Patients

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Biosimilars can improve access to treatment for patients who might not have been able to access biologics previously, explained Laura Wingate, executive vice president, Education, Support, & Advocacy, Crohn's & Colitis Foundation.

Biosimilars can improve access to treatment for patients who might not have been able to access biologics previously, explained Laura Wingate, executive vice president, Education, Support, & Advocacy, Crohn's & Colitis Foundation. However, there are concerns that cost savings from biosimilars aren’t reaching the patients, she added.

Transcript

What are the key barriers to access to biosimilars in the United States, and what needs to be done to overcome them?

We're really optimistic about biosimilars entering the United States and becoming more available, because the intention here is to reduce costs and improve access. We know that patients, whether they live in rural parts of the country or urban areas, may not have access, currently, to the biologics in the way that other parts of the United States do. It is our hope, and, I believe, everybody in the biosimilars space believes that with the entry of biosimilars that that access will improve. That patients who didn't have access and maybe were on steroids, for instance, now have access to biosimilars to help manage their disease.

But we also are concerned that the biosimilar cost savings aren't going down to the patient level. We're concerned that some biosimilars are even being limited [in] access due to formularies by insurance companies. We really want to see the insurance-level barriers being removed so that patients have access to biosimilars. And that the cost savings, which are currently not reaching the patient, begin to reach the patient, because that will enable these very expensive drugs to be more affordable to everyone across socioeconomic classes.

What is the Act4Biosimilars Action Plan and what is it highlighting?

Act4Biosimilars is really a global initiative to increase access, education, and awareness of biosimilars with the goal of educating the public about biosimilars; helping them understand the evidence and research that's gone into this class of drugs being available worldwide; and removing the misinformation that is out across the world, but particularly in the United States, around biosimilars, with the goal of reducing the cost of these very expensive drugs and increasing access [for] patients who haven't had access to biologic therapies, whether that's here in the United States or worldwide.

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