- The Austrian Biosimilars Association (BiVÖ) publishes in
Collaboration with the Austrian Medical Association, the Austrian Pharmacy Chamber and the Federal Office for Safety in Health Care (BASG) patient information on biosimilars
- Objective information is important for doctors, pharmacists and patients to strengthen confidence in biosimilars and thereby facilitate access to innovative therapies
Biosimilars make the treatment of serious diseases much more cost-effective and are therefore important for broad patient access to innovative therapies. By expanding the range, biosimilars also increase security of supply in biology.
Nevertheless, a biosimilar consumption study from 2020 shows that only 24 percent of the biosimilar market is depleted.
“With the patient information, BiVÖ provides information on the efficiency and safety of biosimilars. We are pleased that a collaboration between doctors, pharmacists and BASG has been created for this purpose, says Dr. Sabine Möritz-Kaisergruber, President of the Austrian Biosimilars Association.
In Austria, there are currently 38 biosimilars for 1
Different prescription behaviors of doctors
In 2019, a study was conducted in Austria for the first time that looked at doctors’ previous experience of prescribing biosimilars. General practitioners, dermatologists, gastroenterologists, rheumatologists and oncologists were interviewed
About two-thirds of the doctors surveyed want more information about biosimilars so that they can then safely prescribe them.
That biosimilars are safe and effective is confirmed by Dr. Wirthumer-Hoche, Head of the Medical Market Surveillance Department of AGES (Austrian Agency for Health and Food Safety) and Procedural Fellow of the Federal Office for Health Safety (BASG): Since biosimilars were first approved in Europe in 2006, they have been able to reliably demonstrate in their broad therapeutic application that they, as medicines that have been strictly tested by the authorities, have the same positive effect and high level of safety as their original medicines.
Doctors still prescribe biosimilars in very different ways. In hospitals, the average share of the biosimilar market is about 43 percent. Since biosimilars first became important later in private practice, they are prescribed much more dubiously there. With total sales of biological drugs and biosimilars of EUR 617 million in 2019, biosimilars make up only 13.9 percent.
“A lot of information needs to be done here to eliminate any uncertainties and to actively promote biosimilar regulation. The supplementary information and training offer for patients presented today is intended to help doctors prescribe biosimilars, says Möritz-Kaisergruber.
Easier access for patients
“Patients benefit from biosimilars because the therapies for many serious diseases such as cancer or chronic inflammatory diseases are much cheaper when they enter the market,” says prof. Dr. Thomas Szekeres, President of the Austrian Medical Association.
An early start of treatment leads to a reduction in hospital stays, lost work, early retirement and, above all, to an improvement in the quality of life of the affected patients.
In 2019, there were approximately 2 million patients suffering from approximately 450 diseases of the rheumatic type. Since the introduction of rheumatism biosimilars, the number of devices used in private practice has increased by 20 percent.
At the hospital, the number of units of the anticancer drug trastuzumab has increased by 14 percent due to the availability of a biosimilar. With the introduction of rituximab biosimilar, use was expanded by 12 percent.
Biosimilars – patient information in multiple languages
The Austrian Biosimilars Association (BiVÖ), the Federal Office for Safety in Health Care (BASG), the Austrian Chamber of Pharmacy and the Austrian Medical Chamber created an information sheet that informs patients about the subject of biosimilars and supports the educational discussion between doctors and pharmacists.
Dr. Mursch-Edlmayr, Chairman of the Austrian Pharmacy Chamber: “We are pleased to be able to provide our clients with patient information on biosimilars in German and eight other languages in addition to the personal consultation, which guarantees comprehensive advice.
“For our physicians, the multilingual biosimilar patient information is a valuable addition to the important physician-patient discussion,” says Szekeres.
Patient information is available at
About the biosimilar association
The Austrian Biosimilars Association is the voluntary interest group for biosimilar suppliers and producers. Biosimilars are equivalent successor products to biopharmaceuticals that have been approved on the market for several years and whose patents have expired and are thus an affordable alternative to expensive treatments. Our goal: to give patients access to innovative biopharmaceutical drug treatments that can also be financially sustainable. Our members are Accord Healthcare GmbH, Amgen GmbH, Astro Pharma GmbH, Biogen Austria, Fresenius Kabi Austria GmbH, Mylan Pharma, Sandoz GmbH and STADA Arzneimittel GmbH. These companies covered approximately 86% of the Austrian biosimilar market in 2019.