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06-02-2018 | Rheumatoid arthritis | Review | Article

Biosimilars in rheumatology: recommendations for regulation and use in Middle Eastern countries

Clinical Rheumatology

Authors: Bassel El Zorkany, Nizar Al Ani, Samar Al Emadi, Jamal Al Saleh, Imad Uthman, Yasser El Dershaby, Mohamed Mounir, Hani Al Moallim

Publisher: Springer London


The increasing availability of biosimilar medicines in Middle Eastern regions may provide an opportunity to increase the number of rheumatology patients who have access to traditionally more expensive biologic medicines. However, as well as a lack of real-world data on the use of biosimilar medicines in practice, the availability of intended copies in the region may undermine physician confidence in prescribing legitimate biosimilar medicines. There is a need for regional recommendations for healthcare professionals to ensure that biosimilar drugs can be used safely. Therefore, a literature search was performed with the aim of providing important recommendations for the regulation and use of biosimilar medicines in the Middle East from key opinion leaders in rheumatology from the region. These recommendations focus on improving the availability of relevant real-world data, ensuring that physicians are aware of the difference between intended copies and true biosimilars and ensuring that physicians are responsible for making any prescribing and switching decisions.

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