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2SPD-008 Switching to a biosimilar adalimumab in Dutch University Medical Centres: it is not that hard!
  1. J Zwaveling1,
  2. E Tielen2
  1. 1Leiden University Medical Centre, Clinical Pharmacy and Toxicology, Leiden, The Netherlands
  2. 2University Of Utrecht, Master Pharmacy, Utrecht, The Netherlands


Background and Importance Monoclonal antibodies have extended pharmacotherapeutic treatment options for patients but are also greatly increasing the cost of expensive drugs. Biosimilars are equivalent to the original reference product in terms of efficacy and safety and can significantly attenuate the cost increase. In the Netherlands, University Medical Centres (UMCs) makes joint purchasing agreements for as many drugs as possible. The 2021 procurement of adalimumab, a tumour necrosis factor (TNF) alpha blocker for treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s disease, psoriasis and uveitis, among others, resulted in the designation of a biosimilar (Hyrimoz®) as the most effective choice.

Aim and Objectives In this study the quantitative and qualitative aspects of the implementation of the biosimilar for adalimumab in all Dutch UMCs is analysed and we have sought successful strategies.

Material and Methods The analysis took place over the period from October 2021 to January 2023. The proportion of biosimilars was calculated as a percentage of the total number of adalimumab users at t = -3, 0, 3, 6, 9 and 12 months after introduction of the biosimilar. The quantitative study used a Pharma Insights® software tool, which collected add-on drug claims data for each of the eight UMCs.

Pharmacists in each UMC were interviewed about the implementation process and success factors, focusing on preparation, division of tasks, content of communication, instruction letters/materials, monitoring and evaluation of the switch.

Results The relative uptake of the biosimilar adalimumab is shown in figure 1 and differed between medical specialties. Interviews with (hospital) pharmacists revealed that the design of the implementation process differed among UMCs and a good relationship and communication between the pharmacy and the outpatient clinics also proved essential for a successful switch.

Conclusion and Relevance In this field study in 6,000 Dutch patients, we observed that the pace and success of implementation varied by UMC, and our findings offer opportunities to improve this process by sharing best practices within UMCs and, for example, paying more attention to ‘smaller’ specialties such as Ophthalmology.

The use of biosimilars contributes to the efficient use of medicines and can save millions of euros on an annual basis.

References and/or Acknowledgements Members of the drug purchasing group of the Dutch UMC’s (iZAAZ).

Conflict of Interest No conflict of interest.

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