The Official opening of Biosimilar Week, running from April 29 to May 3 featured a statement on the role of biosimilar medicines in a sustainable health system by Health Minister Greg Hunt.
Mr Hunt began by welcoming delegates to the Generic and Biosimilar Medicines Association (GBMA), Biosimilar Grants and Biosimilar Awareness Week discussion before talking about the importance of biosimilar medicines.
“You know, and we know the importance of biosimilars” he said.
“They are exactly as the name says, biological medicine similar to the original form and they play a very important role for conditions such as Crohn’s disease, arthritis, psoriasis and certain types of cancer treatment.
“Biosimilars are always taken through the system by the PBAC before being listed on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme, and they are an important part of the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme – and a growing part.
“We know that biologics themselves represent seven of the 10 highest cost social medicines for the last full financial year. So, in that situation, biosimilars, approved by the PBAC – as they must be, play a critical role in the sustainability of the PBS.
“So, it’s about making medicines more accessible and about ensuring that we can get the best possible outcome for the whole of the Australian public.
“Choice, understanding, safety and quality – those are the critical things and that’s what biosimilars do. They are a critical, fundamental part of our medicines provision in Australia and I want to thank the GBMA and everybody involved for giving patients real choice and real value.”
CEO of GBMA Education, Marnie Peterson expressed her appreciation of the extensive consultation and support offered by a wide range of healthcare and industry professionals in developing the educational materials to date and has welcomes ongoing collaboration.
“GBMA Education extends an invitation to the medical, pharmacy and broader community for expert contribution to the Biosimilar Education program,” she said
“Our aim is to ensure that the healthcare professional education and future consumer communications are balanced, evidence-based and relevant to each audience’s needs,” she said. “We are looking forward to seeing the discussion that the Biosimilar Week activities spark, and we warmly invite feedback that will help develop the ongoing program.”
As part of Biosimilar Week, GBMA have launched the Biosimilar Hub at www.biosimilarhub.com.au.
The hub is an online platform designed to facilitate peer-to-peer information exchange between healthcare professionals surrounding biosimilar medicines through the following:
- video talk series
- literature reviews
- downloadable resources
- interactive content
Throughout Biosimilar Week a video talk series will be available featuring interviews with healthcare professionals from across Australia as they share their insights and experience with biosimilar medicines .
Communicated via emailed newsletter throughout the week and available on the Biosimilar Hub, the video talk series will provide insights into a range of topics for healthcare professionals, informed by discussions across oncology, rheumatology, gastroenterology, haematology, dermatology and hospital pharmacy, including:
- Safety and efficacy
- Clinical experience
- Approval and regulation
- Benefits of biosimilar medicines
This week’s speakers include:
- Stephen Clarke – Medical Oncologist, Northern Cancer Institute and Royal North Shore Hospital, NSW
- Brendan Murphy – Chief Medical Officer, Australian Government
- Rodney Sinclair – Director of Dermatology, Epworth Hospital, Vic
- Jeff Szer – Haematologist, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, Vic
- John Zalcberg – Medical Oncologist, Professor of Cancer Research, School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, Monash University, Vic
- A/Prof. Paul Bird – Rheumatologist, University of New South Wales
- A/Prof. Andrew Östör – Consultant Rheumatologist, Cabrini Medical Centre, Vic
- Dr Simon Ghaly – Gastroenterologist, St Vincent’s Hospital, NSW
- Dr Lena Thin – Gastroenterologist, Fiona Stanley Hospital, WA
- David Ford – Executive Director of Pharmacy, North East Health, Vic
- Barry Jenkins – Chief Pharmacist, Fiona Stanley Hospital WA