Infliximab and etanercept biosimilars present significant potential cost savings to the NHS. Patients need to be involved in the decision to use these medicines but there is a limited published literature on their knowledge and attitudes about these biosimilars.
To investigate ankylosing spondylitis and rheumatoid arthritis patients’ knowledge and attitudes towards infliximab and etanercept biosimilars in UK.
A self-administered, web-survey conducted among the members of the National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society and the National Ankylosing Spondylitis Society in the UK between 2 March 2017 and 2 June 2017.
A total of 182 patients participated in this survey. The majority of participants (73%) were on etanercept. 66%-80% of patients on originator biologic and biosimilars respectively understood what biosimilars were. Patients who were currently on biosimilars had greater confidence in their effectiveness and the doctor’s decision to initiate than those who were originally on originator biologics that doctors proposed to switch to biosimilars. The majority (82%) of participants on biosimilars thought that biosimilars help saving money for the NHS, while just over half (54%) of participants on the originator biologics thought the cost of treatment should not be considered when prescribing biosimilars.
Survey participants had a good knowledge and understanding of biosimilars. Participants on biosimilars were confident and positive about biosimilars’ safety, efficacy and switching, whereas participants on the originator biologics were more reluctant to switch to biosimilars. Those patients who expressed concerns felt that more clinical trials on switching biosimilars, better communication and reassurance by healthcare professional teams and further involvement in decision-making would increase their acceptance of biosimilars.