Infliximab biosimilar uptake incentives take effect for RA and AS

PBS listings for infliximab have been amended from 1 November to encourage the use of biosimilar brands Inflectra and Renflexis for ankylosing spondylitis and rheumatoid arthritis

As part of the government’s biosimilar uptake drivers strategy to encourage use of cheaper alternatives to the originator Remicade brand, prescriptions for the biosimilar brands in public hospitals can now be written using an Authority Required (STREAMLINED) code for subsequent continuing treatment for the PBS listed quantities and repeats.

Prescriptions for the biosimilar brands in private hospitals are Authority Required (telephone) and require authority approval from the Department of Human Services (DHS) for subsequent continuing treatment.

Written authority is still required for initial treatment of a new patient, and the first continuing prescription. Written authority is also required for recommencement after break of more than 24 months for RA or five years for AS.

The government emphasises that prescriber choice of which brand to prescribe is retained.

“The Inflectra and Renflexis brands of infliximab have been assessed by the TGA to be highly similar to the Remicade reference brand. This means they are as safe and effective as Remicade, providing the same health outcomes,” a statement from the PBS.

The implementation of biosimilar uptake drivers for infliximab has been staggered with PBS listing changes implemented for severe Crohns Disease from 1 August 2018, and moderate to severe Ulcerative Colitis from 1 October 2018.

More details area available on the PBS factsheet for biosimilar uptake drivers.

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