Biologics have transformed the treatment of immune-mediated inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Biosimilars—biologic medicines with no clinically meaningful differences in safety or efficacy from licensed originators—can stimulate market competition and have the potential to expand patient access to biologics within the parameters of treatment recommendations. However, maximizing the benefits of biosimilars requires cooperation between multiple stakeholders. Regulators and developers should collaborate to ensure biosimilars reach patients rapidly without compromising stringent quality, safety, or efficacy standards. Pharmacoeconomic evaluations and payer policies should be updated following biosimilar market entry, minimizing the risk of imposing nonmedical barriers to biologic treatment. In RA, disparities between treatment guidelines and national reimbursement criteria could be addressed to ensure more uniform patient access to biologics and enable rheumatologists to effectively implement treat-to-target strategies. In IBD, the cost-effectiveness of biologic treatment earlier in the disease course is likely to improve when biosimilars are incorporated into pharmacoeconomic analyses. Patient understanding of biosimilars is crucial for treatment success and avoiding nocebo effects. Full understanding of biosimilars by physicians and carefully considered communication strategies can help support patients initiating or switching to biosimilars. Developers must operate efficiently to be sustainable, without undermining product quality, the reliability of the supply chain, or pharmacovigilance. Developers should also facilitate information sharing to meet the needs of other stakeholders. Such collaboration will help to ensure a sustainable future for both the biosimilar market and healthcare systems, supporting the availability of effective treatments for patients.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pharmacology (medical)