The government is encouraging dermatologists to prescribe cheaper biosimilar brands of infliximab by introducing less restrictive PBS Authority criteria.
From 1 January 2019 the biosimilars uptake driver policy has been applied to Inflectra and Renflexis biosimilar brands of infliximab listed on the PBS to compete with the reference biological medicine Remicade in the treatment of Severe Chronic Plaque Psoriasis
The changes mean that following the initial and first continuing script the biosimilar brands do not need written Authority and can be prescribed via the Streamlined Authority system
Similar changes were introduced from 1 December for infliximab biosimilars for the PBS indication of Adult Patients with Severe Active Psoriatic Arthritis.
The PBS has also released a biosimilars information factsheet, which tells patients that brands such as Inflectra and Renflexis are considered equivalent and interchangeable with the the reference brand, provided the dermatologist has not indicated ‘brand substitution not permitted’ on the prescription.
“When PBS brands are listed as substitutable the pharmacist can dispense any brand, with permission from the patient, unless directed otherwise by the prescriber,” it states
In its information for prescribers, the PBS notes that choice of infliximab brand generally used in a hospital clinic may be based on medicine purchasing decisions made by a clinician-led committee.
“Specific patient requirements will remain for discussion between a patient and treating clinician. If you or your patient are unsure about the brand previously dispensed on the PBS, this can be checked easily for patients with a My Health Record, including through My Health Record information in many prescribing software products, or by the patient checking their Record,” it says.