Psoriasis

Dermatology intervention aims to optimise prescribing of biologics for plaque psoriasis


Dermatologists are the latest target of a government backed program to ensure better value prescribing of high-cost biologics.

Evidence-based resources regarding the management of plaque psoriasis have been made available following collaboration between the Targeted Therapies Alliance, Australasian College of Dermatologists and Psoriasis Australia.

The Alliance, led by NPS MedicineWise and funded through the Value in Prescribing – Biological Disease Modifying Anti-Rheumatic Drugs (bDMARDs) Program, has previously delivered educational resources to rheumatologists and gastroenterologists.

A recent PBAC review of nine PBS-listed biologics for chronic plaque psoriasis (etanercept, infliximab, adalimumab, ustekinuma, secukinumab, ixekizumab, guselkumab and tildrakizumab) estimated that costs could be $112 million a year by 2025 for about 6000 patients who take up treatment.

The new dermatology resources include:

  • A fact sheet for consumers on topical treatments for managing plaque psoriasis
  • A decision aid to facilitate patient-clinician discussions when topical treatment may not be enough
  • A fact sheet on use of low-dose methotrexate.

Dermatologist Associate Professor Peter Foley told the limbic that quality educational resources were always welcome when everyone was time poor and particularly so when clinical work was quite inefficient due to COVID-19 restrictions.

“It’s great to be able to just print them out or refer the patients to the website and use them as a talking point rather than trying to write things out. It means the time can be spent discussing rather than writing.”

“They are very broad and deliberately not honing in on every bit of detail but introducing a few talking points and covering off the key take home messages without people feeling they are being swamped with too much information.”

NPS MedicineWise spokesperson Jonathan Dartnell told the limbic that the bDMARDs program was funded to support optimising the use of biologics.

“But in order to optimise use of biologics it is really about optimising the different lines of therapy – the topical treatments which are the first line and then the treatments which come after that.”

“As well as that, these medicines are also used in combination with biologics so that means you are going to get a better outcome if they are being used appropriately.”

He said NPS MedicinesWise would also be delivering evidence summaries and answering priority clinical questions later in the year through formats such as a webinar and one-on-one educational visiting with dermatologists.

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