Biologics have been used routinely since the early 2000s. Some of the older ones are now starting to come “off patent”. This means that whilst before only the company that invented the drug could manufacture and sell it, after coming off patent other drug companies are allowed to manufacture their own versions of the drug. These new versions are called bio-similar drugs or “bio-similars”.
Bio-Similars have to go through rigorous testing to make sure they work as well as the original drug and are safe for patients to take, before they are permitted for use.
Until recently, Biologics has only been available from one manufacturer, under a brand name. Other companies now make “bio-similar” medication. In common with other hospitals in the UK, we are gradually changing to use newer versions. There is no evidence of problems resulting from a switch to a bio-similar.
At a time when Devon’s health economy is under severe strain (as is the NHS as a whole) it is everyone’s duty to use precious health resources as effectively and efficiently as possible. The potential savings with using bio-similars (with no difference in effectiveness, side effects and safety) cannot and should not be ignored.
We expect changes will result in savings and we can use this money to support rheumatology patient care in other ways.
Bio-similars will be delivered to your home in the usual way.