Sustainable healthcare: time to turn to biosimilars
Although the topic of biosimilars is a regular fixture at medical congresses, it rarely takes centre stage. However, given the hospital pharmacist’s increasingly difficult role in managing budgets, it is not surprising that the cost-effective benefits of biosimilars and best practices on their implementation were key themes at EAHP 2019. Although vast amounts of data have provided reassurance of the similar efficacy and safety of biosimilars to their originator counterparts, hurdles still exist for biosimilar use. Challenges in this area include the complexity of procurement and tender procedures, and healthcare professional and patient education to tackle misconceptions. Best practices in biosimilar implementation from the UK, Germany and Denmark were presented. A common theme was the central role of hospital pharmacists in managing and driving a switch strategy. The value of biosimilar uptake was clear to see: the significant cost-savings of biosimilars were highlighted throughout presentations. It has been reported that switching to biosimilars saved the UK National Health Service around £100 million in 2018. These cost savings can be reinvested into the healthcare system, for example, in the form of more healthcare professionals, ultimately improving patient care and outcomes.
EAHP 2019 allowed delegates to share best practices in hospital pharmacies and explore novel ideas on how to optimise healthcare systems with their colleagues from across Europe. It also highlighted to me the vital role of hospital pharmacists in improving patient outcomes.