Brazil, Mexico lead with 97% support for WHO’s BQ Proposal


Washington, DC- The Alliance for Safe Biologic Medicines (ASBM) today presented at the 51st Annual Meeting of the Drug Information Association (DIA). The presentation, titled “Physician Perspectives on Biosimilars” was given by John Lewis, Senior Vice President of the Association of Clinical Research Organizations, an ASBM Steering Committee member. Physician data regarding biosimilars was shared from five surveys and eleven countries, including for the first time the results of ASBM’s recent survey of Latin American physicians.

The Latin American survey, conducted May 2015, examined the perspectives of 399 physicians distributed equally across four countries: Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, and Mexico. Respondents were selected almost exclusively from six specialties in which biologic medicines are routinely prescribed: Dermatology, Endocrinology, Nephrology, Neurology, Oncology, and Rheumatology.

Most notably, the survey revealed that Latin American physicians overwhelmingly support the World Health Organization’s Biological Qualifier (BQ) proposal, which would allow biosimilars to be clearly distinguishable from the reference products upon which they are based for purposes of 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-digit code appended to the product’s International Nonproprietary Name (INN).

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?”, a full 94% responded “Yes”.

Physicians in Brazil and Mexico had the strongest support, with 97% supporting the WHO’s proposal, while th­e lowest level of support found was among Colombian physicians, 89% of whom were in favor of the BQ.

These results are not surprising, explained Lewis: “Physicians need to clearly identify which medicine their patient is receiving in order to give them proper care. Last year ASBM surveyed physicians in Canada, where biosimilars are available, and found 79% supported distinguishable names.”

Physician prescribing practices also highlight the value of distinguishable names. A full 57% of respondents refer to a medicine exclusively by its nonproprietary name in a patient record, which could result in a patient receiving the wrong medicine.

Similarly, 28% of physicians surveyed indicated that they use the nonproprietary name exclusively when reporting adverse events, which could result in attribution to the wrong medicine.

The full results of the Latin American survey may be viewed here.