Survey: Most Physicians Consider WHO Plan for Distinct Biologic, Biosimilar Names Helpful

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – The Alliance for Safe Biologic Medicines (ASBM) today shared the results of a survey examining the perspectives of 399 physicians distributed equally across four countries: Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, and Mexico. It was conducted in May 2015 and was presented in Latin America for the first time at the 2015 BIO Latin America Conference two days after sharing results from it with the World Health Organization (WHO) in Geneva, Switzerland.

The survey revealed that Latin American physicians overwhelmingly support the WHO’s Biological Qualifier (BQ) proposal, which would differentiate similar biologics from one another to ensure clear prescribing, dispensing, and long-term tracking of safety and efficacy. Under the BQ proposal this would be accomplished by the addition of a 4-letter code assigned to each product and appended to a shared root name, an approach similar to that recently proposed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Wh­en asked “Do you think [the WHO’s proposed] “biologic qualifier” would be useful to you to help you ensure that your patients receive the right medicine that you have prescribed for them?”, 94% responded “Yes”. Physicians in Brazil had the strongest support, with 97% supporting the WHO’s proposal.

“Confusion can arise when two or more similar biologic medicines share the same International Nonproprietary Name (INN); this is a phenomenon we’ve documented globally,” said ASBM Chairman Harry Gewanter, MD, who presented the data.

The full Latin American survey, as well as previous ASBM surveys, are available at