On November 25 in Madrid, Spain, the Alliance for Safe Biologic Medicines presented results from a survey of European physicians at the “1ST EuropaBio – ASEBIO Meeting on Innovation and Biological Therapies” at the Spanish Ministry of Health, Social Services and Equality. The event, hosted by EuropaBio and the Spanish Bioindustry Association (ASEBIO), included regulators from the Spanish Ministry of Health, physicians from Spanish oncology and rheumatology societies, representatives from a hospital pharmacist organization and patient groups.

ASBM Executive Director Michael Reilly shared the results of the E.U. physicians survey conducted at the end of 2013, and also for the first time shared the specific responses from the Spanish physicians who were included in the survey.  The ASBM survey is the first of its kind in Europe and provided valuable data on physicians’ views and understanding of biosimilar medicines.  Over 470 nephrologists, rheumatologists, dermatologists, neurologists, endocrinologists, and oncologists from the big 5 western European countries that also included France, Germany, Italy and the U.K.

michael-spain1“Physicians in Spain and across Europe have a solid understanding of biologic medicines, however, there is a clear need for further education when it comes to biosimilars,” said Reilly in his presentation. “The Spain data as well as the data from the larger survey make it clear that physician misconceptions about biosimilars and the prescribing practices they utilize, indicates a strong need for a clear naming scheme with distinguishable non-proprietary names for all biologics.”

michael-spain-crowdIn the presentation, Reilly pointed out while Spanish physicians have a better understanding of biologics and biosimilars than their European counterparts, only 28% of Spanish physicians are “very familiar” with biosimilars.  In addition, almost a quarter of Spanish physicians surveyed – 23% – could not define or had not heard about biosimilars before.

Physicians in Spain overwhelmingly indicated that they should have the sole authority to decide the most suitable biologic medicine for their patients with 88% agreeing that they alone should be the decision-maker compared to 68% of survey respondents from France, Germany, Italy and the U.K.  Additionally, Spanish respondents strongly believed that they should be notified if a pharmacist dispensed a biologic other than the one they prescribed – 92% said it is very important or critical that they be notified – compared to the 54% average of the other European countries surveyed.

View Mr. Reilly’s presentation here.