Diffusion of biosimilar hemopoietic growth factors use in oncology practice: an Italian experience

Vittorio Perfetti, Simona Dalle Carbonare, Silvia Vecchio, Chiara Paglino, Simona Secondino, Michele Tringali, Paolo Pedrazzoli, Mirosa Dellagiovanna

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Biosimilars of hemopoietic growth factors present an important saving opportunity in oncology. However, while pharmacologists are aware of their potential benefits, biosimilars are still under-used in Italy. Improved information and guided clinical experience may help to increase the clinical acceptance of these drugs. To this aim, a collaborative educational project was set between an Hospital Oncology Unit and the Local Health Care Authority in Pavia, Italy. Methods: The project lasted 12 months. The strategy included an education-information seminar at startup, a reporting meeting at +6$+6$ months, electronic prescription monitoring and implementation of pharmacovigilance. The target was set to reach 90% of all naïve patients treated with biosimilars. Results: At the end of the study (2013), a dramatic relative increase in the prescription of biosimilar drugs was noted, with virtually 100% of new patients receiving biosimilar drugs during the last 4 months, with a positive impact on average per capita drug expenses. Active pharmacovigilance did not report any serious adverse drug reactions. An anonymous questionnaire showed that oncologists judged the experience quite positively, acquired a positive attitude toward these drugs and considered biosimilars a relevant saving opportunity, while adherence to prescription guidelines was maintained. Analysis of the year following the end of the project, 2014, showed a persistent prescription change. Conclusions: Results from this local experience suggests that specifically designed pragmatic interventions focused on information-education and monitoring may help in promoting the use and acceptance of biosimilar drugs in the real clinical setting.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3
JournalPharmacoEconomics - Italian Research Articles
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 25 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology (medical)
  • Health Policy


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