Biosimilar Discussion With Patients and Biosimilar Resources


Advanced practice providers share how to discuss biosimilars with patients and what resources might be useful for education on biosimilars.

Amy Perrin Ross, MSN, MSCN, APN, CNRN: Pat, what are your thoughts about important considerations when discussing biosimilars with patients to alleviate concerns and fears?

Patricia Melville, MSCN, RN, NP-C, CCRC: Well, again, I think just education, education, education. I think communicating with our patients, reassuring them that it has gone through a rigorous, detailed, complex process for approval. I think as John mentioned, educating the staff, nurses, and the IV [intravenous] infusion nurses by making them aware. Oftentimes, they’re the first line of defense that the patients are seeing when they come in. There was a study that was published in 2022. It was an international study using an online interview…. They asked nurses about their familiarity with biosimilars and they identified that there was a very large knowledge gap, that many nurses did not understand biosimilars. I think we really have to educate our colleagues about that and again, in turn, pass on that information to our patients. Some of it may also be involving reassurance as well. The other thing I’ll also say, and you mentioned it earlier, Amy, we know how important treating [patients with] MS [multiple sclerosis] is, following a multidisciplinary care team, how critically important that is. And I think we can take a message from our oncology colleagues and involve them perhaps in our training and in our learning process since they’ve been working with biosimilars for longer than we have.

Amy Perrin Ross, MSN, MSCN, APN, CNRN: Good thoughts and good points. One of the things that was going through my head as I was preparing for engaging in this discussion is, we need some resources here because a lot of what I thought I knew, I didn’t know…. So what can we do moving forward? John, what advice do you have for advanced practice practitioners as well as nurses to facilitate moving forward with biosimilars?

John Kramer, PA-C: It’s a great question, Amy. I think about advanced practice providers as the connective tissue or the glue in these MS centers that we all work in, and I think that what is going to be incumbent upon any company that brings a biosimilar therapeutic drug to market is going to be a certain level of education about that particular biosimilar drug. Providing not only education but reassurance and the background of the education and the research that has been done in advance of these molecules getting approved by the FDA. So it’s actually very similar to the other medications that have already been FDA approved the first time, right? I think it’s just going to be more of a reassurance, if you will, that these products have been tested rigorously over time.

Amy Perrin Ross, MSN, MSCN, APN, CNRN: …. Let’s delve into this. Let’s get more information. One of the things that you mentioned was the manufacturers. It will be incumbent upon them to provide information, and that’s absolutely true. Much of what they provide is incredibly valuable. However, in my institution, I can’t leave out branded materials, so what about a thought for some organization, for example, the consortium of MS centers, getting a group together to put some nonbranded information together to answer some of the questions that we’ve tried to answer today in our discussion, honing it down to a 1-page sheet, if you want, to make our colleagues comfortable because it’s coming and it’s going to happen. I don’t think any of us can or will fight it.

As Pat mentioned earlier, there are patients who insist on brand name, but I think those days are really gone. What we could do, for example, would be to develop an unbranded piece for clinicians because I know as a clinician, I could certainly use something like that, but also then taking it the next step to be able to provide some education for our patient population as well.

Aliza Ben-Zacharia, PhD, DNP, RN, ANP-BC, FAAN: That’s a great idea, Amy.

Transcript Edited for Clarity

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