Biosimilars in the pharmacy benefit are as effective as their reference drug, but it’s important for the pharmacist to clarify this to patients.
Prerakkumar Parikh, PharmD, Director, Specialty Clinical Solutions, Magellan Rx Management, Fremont, Ca, joins Pharmacy Times at the Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy’s (AMCP) Nexus 2023 Conference, taking place October 16 to 19 in Orlando, Florida. Parikh discusses the impact of interchangeable biosimilars, their cost-saving benefits, and the influx of biosimilars into pharmacy.
Pharmacy Times Staff: What will be the effects of a new influx of biosimilars be for the pharmacy industry and how will this impact pharmacy operations, cost, and patient care?
Prerakkumar Parikh, PharmD: Interchangeability is definitely going to change things, especially for the biosimilars on the pharmacy benefit as more biosimilars achieve that interchangeability status. It will change some of the pharmacy operations component as well. The pharmacies will be able to easily substitute those interchangeable biosimilars and allow for easier access for the patients, so that's one. And then overall, biosimilars are known to reduce cost for payers, patients, employers…everyone, so that is a huge plus.
Pharmacy Times Staff: What are potential challenges in the biosimilar market expansion among stakeholders?
Prerakkumar Parikh, PharmD: More biosimilars [are] flowing into the pharmacy side of the business, right? So far, we have oncology biosimilars and more concentration on the medical benefits. And so, once we start to see more biosimilars flow into the pharmacy benefit, it will become important for the patients to understand that biosimilars are leading to lower cost. The
Biosimilars are the same as the reference products, [and] I think an example would be a patient taking a reference product or brand-new drug for a long, long time and then get[ting] switched to a biosimilar. They have been taking this for years, so when that switch happens, it is important for the pharmacists for the providers to tell them, “I'm prescribing you a similar drug, it works the same way. It gives you the same efficacy.” but giving [the patient] that heads up will really help the patients to absorb that biosimilar and make them able to use that product better.