Survey shows skepticism towards generics and biosimilars among healthcare professionals in Vienna

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A recent study by the Medical University of Vienna sheds light on the perception and knowledge of healthcare professionals regarding generics and biosimilars. A survey showed that there is still widespread skepticism and large gaps in knowledge about these medicines. The results were published in the European Journal of Clinical Pharmacology.

In recent decades, generics and biosimilars have gained enormously in importance due to rising therapy costs. However, despite scientifically proven equivalent safety and efficacy, international studies show that healthcare professionals are rather reluctant to use these preparations.

In a recent survey of healthcare professionals (doctors and nurses) from various healthcare facilities in Vienna, perceptions and knowledge of generics and biosimilars were examined. The results show that only 63 percent of the 593 participants were convinced of the clinical equivalence of generic or biosimilar preparations to the original drug. On average, only 1.6 out of 4 questions on generics were answered correctly, while the figure for biosimilars was as low as 0.87 out of 4 questions.

The authors Markus Zeitlinger and Lukas Binder from MedUni Vienna’s Department of Clinical Pharmacology comment: "The results of this study reflect previous surveys and show that a large proportion of healthcare professionals remain skeptical about generics and biosimilars. Better training of healthcare professionals could contribute to greater acceptance of these medicines."

This study underscores the importance of in-depth education and training of healthcare professionals to promote the acceptance of generics and biosimilars and ultimately optimize treatment options for patients.

Generics and biosimilars

Generics are medicines that may be manufactured after the patent protection for an original medicine has expired. They contain the same active ingredient as the original preparation and have proven quality, safety and efficacy. Generics can be offered at a lower price as no research and development costs are incurred.

Biosimilars are biological medicinal products that are similar, but not identical, to an already approved biotechnologically produced reference medicinal product. They are created when the patent protection for a biological drug expires. Biosimilars must prove that they have similar properties in terms of efficacy, safety and quality to the reference medicinal product, but are not identical to it due to their complex structure and manufacture. They offer an opportunity for more cost-effective treatment options, especially in biopharmaceuticals.

Publication: European Journal of Clinical Pharmacology

Perception of pharmacological equivalence of generics or biosimilars in healthcare professionals in Vienna.
Lukas Binder, Markus Zeitlinger;
European Journal of Clinical Pharmacology­’023 -03603-3