Arden & GEM’s medicines optimisation team has had an article published in the latest issue of the Journal of Pharmacy Management, covering an innovative project to accelerate the uptake of biosimilars with a high cost drugs in-reach pharmacist.
To help tackle the growing spend on medicines in hospitals, NHS England set ambitious targets to encourage hospitals to switch eligible patients from high cost biologic drugs to more affordable biosimilar drugs, with the same efficacy. The objective was to realise potential savings of £200-300m per year by 2020/21. However, the switching process was resource-hungry, requiring extensive engagement with clinicians and patients to encourage take-up of biosimilars, as well as careful monitoring of those agreeing to switch.
To reduce the burden on hospital staff and accelerate the uptake of biosimilars, NHS Arden & GEM CSU developed an innovative in-reach pharmacist model which saw a CSU pharmacist based onsite at a hospital trust, dedicated solely to delivering the biosimilar switch programme, focusing initially on adalimumab – the most commonly used biologic medicine. Working in partnership with the Trust’s rheumatology and pharmacy teams, this in-reach approach delivered cost savings of £775,000 within six months, against a total budget of £7.5 million, and saw the Trust exceed its target in switching patients from the branded adalimumab drug to the biosimilar agent.
Authored by Jas Sagoo, Medicines Optimisation Lead Pharmacist and Fozia Akhtar, Medicines Optimisation Pharmacist, the full article – covering the project’s challenges, approach and outcomes – is available here on page 106.