Irvine, CA—When it comes to biosimilars, pharmacists generally prefer the use of a naming convention that includes a nonproprietary proper name with a designated suffix.

That’s according to a report in the Journal of Managed Care & Specialty Pharmacy based on a survey conducted by Daniel Tomaszewski, PharmD, PhD, of Chapman University in Irvine, California.

The article notes, however, that levels of confidence in substituting a biosimilar for the reference biologic are highest when products share the same nonproprietary name.

In addition, Tomaszewski points out, the survey suggests that the naming convention, as well as notification requirements, could affect the willingness of some pharmacists to dispense interchangeable biologics. He suggests the effect could be minimized if interchangeable biologics share the same nonproprietary name as the reference biologics.

Background information in the report states that approval of the first biosimilar in the United States has placed increased pressure on the FDA to provide guidance on the naming convention that will be assigned to current and future biosimilars. It further notes that, while the release of the FDA draft guidance on nonproprietary naming of biosimilars in August last year established a naming convention for all biologic products, including biosimilars, the draft guidance remains nonbinding while the FDA continues to receive input from stakeholders. It also does not address the naming convention that will be used for products designated as interchangeable biologics.

Because of that, Tomaszewski sought to determine pharmacist perceptions of biosimilar naming conventions, their effect on confidence to dispense biosimilars and to measure the burden that is created by laws and regulations requiring pharmacists to complete postdispense notifications.

Using an online survey software program, he conducted a cross-sectional survey of 781 members of the Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy and the Hematology/Oncology Pharmacy Association.

Results indicate that participants prefer a biosimilar naming convention that uses a nonproprietary base with a designated suffix (48.1%), compared with the use of a nonproprietary base alone (26.3%), nonproprietary base plus a prefix (14.2%), or a unique brand name (11.4%).

On the other hand, when respondents report their confidence levels when dispensing a biosimilar in place of the reference biologic, more participants reported high levels of confidence when the products shared the same nonproprietary name (62.9%).

Most of the pharmacists responding (64.9%) also reported perceptions of increased burden when required to provide a postdispense notification to prescribers when dispensing biosimilars.

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