Humira, Biosimilars, and Your Specialty Pharmacy

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Humira, Biosimilars, and Your Specialty Pharmacy

Humira biosimilars are here. Is your specialty pharmacy ready?

September 2023

By: Susan Trieu, Pharm.D.

As the biosimilar market heats up, everyone's abuzz with anticipation, waiting to see how the products will change our clinical paradigms and practices. That's why I recently spoke on a Health System Owned Specialty Pharmacy Alliance (HOSP) "Hive Forum." We deep dived into the world of biosimilars, discussing what specialty pharmacy teams need to do to prepare and adapt.

(By the way, if you're not familiar with the folks at HOSP, they're a member-led organization of leading health systems representing the interests of the health system owned specialty pharmacy [HSSP] industry. You can learn more here.)

During the session, we covered topics including:

  1. What's happening in the Humira biosimilar landscape, and what do we need to do about it?
  2. How do specialty pharmacy teams need to adjust their operations to support these new products?
  3. What do patients need to know about biosimilars? How can we help them transition to these products?
  4. What's the impact on payor formulary decisions, and how will that impact the uptake of biosimilars?
  5. What are the financial ramifications of biosimilars?

Read this to learn more about Humira biosimilar preparation.

My colleagues and I recently sat down with AJMC's The Center for Biosimilars to give their readers advice on preparing for biosimilars' arrival. Here are a few of my favorite pieces of advice:

  1. Harness the opportunity, specialty pharmacy community: It's a defining moment for self administered biosimilar medications—a therapy class with one of the highest drug spend in specialty care. That's why specialty pharmacy teams are key. We can support patients as our as biosimilars and more outcomes-focused paradigms emerge. We can also help patients and our healthcare colleagues get better access to these therapies. Let's make sure we're ready to help those who need it most.
  2. Close the educational gaps: Though our healthcare community has become more familiar with biosimilars, knowledge gaps still exist. Creating a streamlined patient experience depends on us understanding and optimizing prescriber and pharmacist perceptions regarding these therapies. We invite the industry to join us in studying and appropriately addressing these gaps.
  3. Now is the time to prepare: "Now is the time for health systems to review processes and take inventory of providers’ and pharmacists’ knowledge of self-administered biosimilars. [You'd also be wise to] equip your teams with additional education, technology, operational support, and other resources as needed. Together, we can design optimal processes and procedures to carry us forward."  As the biosimilars landscape evolves, remind yourself of this passage. We're in it together, for our patients.
And so, I challenge you, specialty pharmacy industry: Let us carry forward together, harnessing new approaches to help our patients live better, and our healthcare colleagues work better.

We look forward to discussing more as we turn toward 2024.

In the meantime, tell us: How are you feeling about biosimilar innovation and adoption?

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