NEW YORK—Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) patients can be safely switched from originator infliximab to biosimilar infliximab using a managed-switching program, U.K. research shows.
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“Thus far, there does not appear to be any significant difference between the two infliximab products in terms of drug persistence, side effects, adverse reactions, disease activity, or blood tests, but ongoing follow-up is needed,” Dr. Fraser Cummings of Southampton General Hospital and colleagues write in their report, published online January 16 in the Journal of Crohn’s and Colitis.
The European Medicines Agency approved the first infliximab biosimilar, CT-P13, in 2013. There is currently little information on CT-P13 in IBD patients, especially those switched from originator infliximab, the researchers note. However, studies have shown patients with rheumatoid arthritis can be switched safely to the biosimilar drug.
In the new study, the researchers report on a managed-switching program funded through a gainsharing agreement between the University Hospital Southampton (UHS), the NHS Foundation Trust and local clinical commissioning groups (CCGs). All 143 patients at UHS who were on infliximab were offered the opportunity to switch to CT-P13, and all agreed to the switch.
After the switching program began, drug acquisition costs fell by 40,000 pounds (about US$50,000) to 60,000 pounds (US$75,000) per month.
Investment in the new program, including salary for an IBD specialist nurse and other support staff, was about 103,000 pounds (US$129,000) per year, or about 12% of the expected cost savings. Savings were shared equally between UHS and the CCGs.
“We have demonstrated substantial cost savings to the health economy, part of which has been re-invested in not only delivering the programme but also improving the service and quality of care for the whole IBD patient population in Southampton, not just for biologics-treated patients,” Dr. Cummings and colleagues write.
Dr. Cummings was not available for an interview by press time.
- Razanskaite V, Bettey M, Downey L, et al. Biosimilar Infliximab in Inflammatory Bowel Disease: Outcomes of a Managed Switching Programme. J Crohns Colitis. 2017 Jan 27. pii: jjw216. [Epub ahead of print]