Biosimilar Agents for Psoriasis Treatment: The Perspective of Portuguese Patients

Alexandra Azevedo, Andreia Bettencourt, Manuela Selores, Tiago Torres

Abstract


Introduction: Biosimilars are highly similar copies of previously approved original biologic medicines. Their introduction on the market may yield cost reduction. The aim of this study was to evaluate the perspectives of psoriasis patients on biosimilar medications.
Materials and Methods: We conducted a 14 questions survey of psoriasis patients receiving biological therapy and followed-up in a dermatology department of a Portuguese tertiary care hospital.
Results: From a total of 108 patients included, 70.4% of patients did not know the definition of biosimilar agent and 76.6% of patients showed partial or total interest in using a biosimilar drug. Nearly 80% of patients partially or totally agreed in using a biosimilar drug in order to reduce healthcare costs with psoriasis treatment. However, the lack of studies in the European population and in psoriatic patients led most of the patients (72.2% and 75.0%, respectively) to somewhat or completely oppose to the use of biosimilars. Demographic variables, household income and type of current biologic therapy did not affect patient preferences.
Discussion: Despite of the unfamiliarity of the respondents with biosimilars, most patients seem receptive to their use. Nevertheless, there are two issues of concern: i) the use of biosimilars that are not tested in a European population, and ii) its approval for psoriasis without trials in this disease. Thus, an immediate need exists for patient education about biosimilars.
Conclusion: Biosimilars may increase patient access to biologic therapies. Improved communication and the involvement of patients in decision-making regarding biosimilars may increase their acceptance in future.


Keywords


Biological Therapy; Biosimilar Pharmaceuticals; Psoriasis/therapy

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