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NHS England calls for biosimilars increase

By Editor
27th September 2017

NHS England has released a report about prescribing biosimilar medicines.

The organisation has published a framework recommending at least 90 per cent of new patients should be prescribed the “best value biological medicine within three months of launch of a biosimilar medicine”.

The guidance has also suggested at least 80 per cent of existing patients should be prescribed the cheaper medication within 12 months, or sooner if possible.

The document stated: “CCGs and providers must work together to develop plans for the quick and effective uptake of the best value biological medicine. Shared decision making between clinical prescribers and patients will be vital if the best value, clinically effective medicines are to be used. Regional Medicines Optimisation Committees will coordinate support and ensure plans are in place for the systematic uptake of biosimilar medicines by the end of 2017.”

The decision has been made in response to the Next Steps on the NHS Five Year Forward View document which urged the NHS to maximise the value it derives for patients from the money it spends on medicines.

In 2015/16 the health service spent £16.8 billion on medicines, an increase of eight per cent when compared with the previous year. This trend is predicted to continue as new medicines enter the market and the population ages.

The newly published document entitled, Commissioning Framework for Biological Medicines, states: “As the biosimilar market develops, increased competition between biological medicines has the potential to deliver significant savings of at least £200m to £300m per year by 2020/21 through increased uptake of the best value biologic medicine, including biosimilars.

“Such action will help the NHS to maximise the value for patients from the amount it spends on these medicines and enable much-needed headroom for funding innovative treatments and/or improvements in pathways of care.”

The purpose of the document was to “support commissioners to act promptly to make the most of the opportunity presented by increased competition amongst biological medicines, including biosimilar medicines”.

To read the framework, click here.

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