Biologic and Biosimilar medicines are playing an increasingly important role for many patient communities and the safe, effective and consistent use of these medicines is an area of concern for many IPPOSI members.

In addition, the introduction and adoption of biosimilar medicines has the potential to make significant cost savings for the Irish health system, which may result in facilitating greater access for Irish patients to these and other innovative treatments.

The Minister for Health is supporting the development of a National Biosimilar Policy in Ireland.  A consultation paper on the National Biosimilar Policy is due to be published in 2017, which will inform any legal changes needed to the Health (Pricing and Supply of Medical Goods) Act 2013.

IPPOSI is conducting a number of initiatives to increase IPPOSI member knowledge and awareness on this topical area, and has plans to input into the development of the national policy for biosimilars.

IPPOSI hosted a seminar in 2016 to discuss biologics and biosimilar medicines in the context of what patients need to know about these medicines. The outcome report of the seminar is available here.

Videos of presentations and discussions delivered during the seminar are available here.

Copies of presentations are available below:

Photos of the event are available here.

In 2016 IPPOSI conducted a survey of 150 arthritis patients, and 21 Irish patient organisations, which found that:
  • Patient awareness and understanding of biosimilars is very low, with the vast majority also unable to tell the difference between a biosimilar medicine and a generic medicine.
  • That patients are more interested in the safety profile of a biologic or biosimilar medicine rather than its effectiveness.
  • That patients have limited access to appropriate information on these treatments.
  • That patient involvement and informed consent, is very important in any decision by medical practitioners to change patients from a current to an alternate treatment.

Full results are available in the outcome report. Downloadable results are available by clicking here.