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Patient attitudes and understanding about biosimilars: an international cross-sectional survey

Authors Jacobs I, Singh E, Sewell K L, Al-Sabbagh A, Shane LG

Received 23 January 2016

Accepted for publication 23 April 2016

Published 26 May 2016 Volume 2016:10 Pages 937—948


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Dr Johnny Chen

Ira Jacobs,1 Ena Singh,2 K Lea Sewell,3 Ahmad AL-Sabbagh,1 Lesley G Shane1

1Global Established Pharma Medicines Development Group, Pfizer Inc., New York, NY, 2Global Medical Affairs, Pfizer Inc., Collegeville, PA, 3Biotechnology Clinical Development, Pfizer Inc., Cambridge, MA, USA

Objective: To understand the levels of awareness, usage, and knowledge of biosimilars among patients, caregivers, and the general population in the US and the European Union; perceptions of biosimilars compared to originator biologics; perceived benefits and drawbacks of clinical trials; and whether advocacy groups impact patients’ willingness to try a biosimilar.
Methods: An international survey was conducted which contained up to 56 closed-ended (requiring yes/no or ranking answers) and open-ended questions, depending on the population assigned. The survey was divided into distinct sections, including medication-class awareness, usage, and knowledge about biologic and biosimilar therapies; perceptions of clinical trials; and involvement in advocacy groups. Interviews were conducted in adults categorized as: 1) diagnosed: patients with inflammatory bowel disease including Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, breast cancer, lung cancer, colorectal cancer, or non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma; 2) diagnosed advocacy: individuals with these diseases who participated in patient support groups; 3) caregiver: has a loved one with these conditions and is involved in medical decisions; 4) general population: aged 18–64 years, without these conditions. Statistical analyses among groups within a region (US or EU) used column proportions test with a 95% confidence interval.
Results: In all, 3,198 individuals responded. Awareness about biologic therapies was significantly higher in diagnosed, diagnosed advocacy, and caregiver groups (45%–78%) versus general population (27%; P<0.05). Across all groups, awareness of biosimilars was low; only 6% of the general population reported at least a general impression of biosimilars. Awareness was significantly higher in the diagnosed advocacy group (20%–30%; P<0.05). Gaps in knowledge about biosimilars included safety, efficacy, and access to these agents. Respondents had generally positive perceptions of clinical trials, although barriers to participation were identified.
Conclusion: An immediate need exists for patient education about biosimilars and clinical trials to ensure educated and informed decisions are made about biosimilar use.

Keywords: patient education, cancer, treatment, biologic therapy, biosimilar, advocacy groups, inflammatory disease, oncology

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