The Department of Health has reminded prescribers that the insulin glargine brands Lantus and Lantus SoloStar have been removed from the PBS Schedule and are no longer available on the Australian market.
The Lantus brands were removed from the PBS on 1 July, as forecast by manufacturer Sanofi earlier in the year. The company has listed Optisulin brands of insulin glargine which have the same formulation and are used in the same devices.
On its biosimilars information page, the department notes that Semglee is also listed on the PBS as substitutable with the Optisulin SoloStar brand of insulin glargine.
“In its recommendation the PBAC noted that the Therapeutic Goods Administration considered Semglee to be a biosimilar to Lantus, having the same safety and efficacy and providing the same health outcomes. For practical purposes, the pre-filled disposable pen presentation of Semglee is the same presentation as Optisulin SoloStar,” it states.
It adds that Semglee continues to be regarded as equivalent on the Schedule (‘a’-flagged) to the Optisulin SoloStar brand for the purposes of pharmacy substitution.
As part of its biosimilar prescribing policy, the government is encouraging use of the biosimilar brand Semglee for treatment naïve patients. However the biosimilar uptake driver incentive of providing streamlined authority access to cheaper brands does not apply to insulin glargine brands because they are all already available on the PBS as unrestricted benefits.