ASBM commends the decision by FDA to apply distinguishable suffixes to all biologics, including interchangeable biosimilars, going forward. FDA’s decision puts in place a protocol for a safe future, when there are many more biologics, biosimilars and interchangeable biosimilars. This policy ensures that patients and health care providers can distinguish between products when that is important for a patient’s care or to report adverse events.
We understand FDA’s thoughtful solution to the difficult conundrum of products approved prior to adoption of the suffix policy. FDA will not change the nonproprietary names of already approved products in order to avoid confusion that could result. For these long-standing products, the brand name will be the distinguishing element and require more vigilance and effort by prescribers. This exception to the suffix protocol will ultimately play a role in the traceability of a limited number of biologics given that most products will not have biosimilars due to the challenges of biosimilar development.