On August 31st, several ASBM representatives joined Tiffany Westrich-Robertson, CEO of the International Foundation for Autoimmune & Autoinflammatory Diseases, to record an episode of the AI Arthritis Voices 360 podcast. The episode discussed examined policy issues surrounding biosimilars and how these affect patients.

ASBM was represented in the discussion by Executive Director Michael Reilly; Chairman Ralph McKibbin, MD, FACP, FACG, AGAF; and Steering Committee Member Andrew Spiegel of the Global Colon Cancer Association (GCCA).

Discussion topics included the basics of biosimilars, how they differ from traditional biological drugs, and how and when they may be substituted. The practice of non-medical switching by third parties is controversial among physicians due to patient-specific differences and a patient’s unique medical history, explained Dr. McKibbin: “Treatment plans are not one size fits all”.

Andrew Spiegel offered his perspective as a patient advocate: “The patient community is excited about biosimilars- but we want these policies to work for patients.”

Mr. Reilly provided an overview of different biosimilar substitution policies worldwide, and emphasized that the most successful biosimilar markets have been those which allowed physician and patient control of treatment decisions: Europe has the most robust and successful biosimilar markets in the world; and in every European country, physicians and patients are free to choose among many products including the originator and several biosimilars-all are reimbursed. This competition has led to tremendous savings.

Keeping the Discussion Going into 2023 and Beyond
This initial podcast episode is only the beginning of the conversation. After this main episode airs, the show will spin off into various conversations, called 360its, which aim to generate more conversation from a variety of patients. Using an array of platforms (social media, e-blasts, existing webinar watch parties) to create break out conversations, in addition to generating audiograms and video clips from this existing episode, AiArthritis can keep the discussion going well into 2023 and beyond.
Watch Episode 77 of the AI Arthritis Voices 360 podcast here.