14 July 2021 – The British Biosimilars Association (BBA) has described the decision by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) to recommend the use of biosimilar medicines to treat moderate rheumatoid arthritis as a hugely significant milestone for patients.
The decision will enable approximately 25,000 people struggling with moderate arthritis in the UK to gain early access to biosimilar medication that could drastically improve their quality of life. Previously, only those suffering with severe arthritis could be prescribed the biological treatments that will now be used to treat those with milder forms of the condition too.
Biosimilar medicines are developed to be similar to existing biological medicines but are available at a far lower cost to the NHS due to competition.
An important milestone
The decision also sets an important precedent for the wider industry as it paves the way for biosimilar medicines to be used to treat other conditions. This will lower the overall cost of treatments for the NHS which will help address previously unmet medical needs and, ultimately, reduce health inequalities across the country.
However, in order to achieve this, NICE must now develop an efficient system for evaluating new biosimilar medications to help them get to market without delay.
This will require support from the wider industry and Government to ensure the necessary resources are in place to establish this process as quickly as possible.
Commenting, Mark Samuels, CEO of the BBA, said: “It is hugely significant that NICE has recommended the use of biosimilar medicines to provide treatment for those with moderate arthritis going forward. Not only will this have a positive impact on the quality of life of those affected by the condition, but it is also an important milestone for the entire biosimilars industry as it sets a precedent for the use of such medicines for other conditions going forward.
“This could have massive implications for the UK health system, lowering the cost of various treatments, addressing previously unmet medical needs and, ultimately, reducing health inequalities across the country.
“The key to achieving this will be the development of a simple, streamlined process to assess the viability of new biosimilar medications and get them to market as efficiently as possible. However, it is not just the responsibility of NICE to facilitate this, the wider industry and Government will also play role in providing the resources needed to develop such a system with the objective of bringing the benefits of this breakthrough to the NHS and the wider UK population as soon as possible.”
About the BBA
The British Biosimilars Association (BBA) is the expert sector group of the British Generic Manufacturers Association (BGMA) exclusively focused on biosimilars. The members of the BBA ensure access to high quality, safe and effective biosimilar medicines for UK patients. As industry experts, we partner with patients’ representatives, healthcare professionals, regulators, and payers to increase understanding and to drive a sustainable environment for the development, production and continuing optimised use of biosimilar medicines across the UK.
For further information please contact Jeremy Durrant on 02078667883 / 07792918648.