Evaluating Pharmacist Attitudes Toward, Understanding of Biosimilars

Gaps exist in knowledge about interchangeability and substitutions.

Although data have been reported for health care providers and patients, comprehensive, quantitative data are lacking on pharmacist attitudes toward and understanding of biosimilar medications, according to a poster presented at the APhA 2022 Annual Meeting & Exposition.

Researchers set out to evaluate pharmacist understanding of biosimilars, including understanding of biosimilar interchangeability. Survey participants included self-identified pharmacists and certified pharmacist technicians. The 36-item questionnaire assessed knowledge of and attitudes toward biosimilars, including concepts related to FDA approval, interchangeability, substitutions, state pharmacy law, biosimilar naming, and patient involvement.

Participants included 498 pharmacists and 9 certified pharmacy technicians (66% in a community setting; 16% in home care or home infusion, ambulatory or outpatient or specialty pharmacy setting; 15% in hospital or health systems settings; 5% in managed care). Overall, most pharmacists had a good understanding of key biosimilar concepts; knowledge gaps included aspects of interchangeability and substitution.

Of a list of 12 biosimilars, on 23% to 33% of respondents correctly identified that a particular biosimilar was not interchangeable; only 11% correctly identified that every biosimilar listed was not interchangeable, with managed care pharmacists demonstrating a slightly higher awareness.

Most respondents correctly noted that biosimilars have equivalent efficacy and comparable safety to reference products, and a “substantial majority” of respondents were able to correctly answer additional questions on state pharmacy laws and biosimilar substitution.

“Additional and focused educational strategies for US pharmacists are required to bridge these gaps and increase confidence in dispensing biosimilars,” the researchers concluded.

Reference

Stevenson JG, McCabe D, McGrath M, McBride A. A survey to assess pharmacists’ knowledge and understanding of biosimilars and interchangeability. Presented at: American Pharmacists Association 2022 Annual Meeting & Exposition; March 18-21, 2022; San Antonio, TX