CreakyJoints Australia has begun advocating on the urgent issue of biologic medicine substitution, currently being considered by the Australian government with the potential to impact countless auto-immune arthritis patients and other related diseases. By signing up to CreakyJoints Australia, you’ll help us ensure that decision makers in Canberra hear your voice.
There are questions that we are demanding answers to!
Here’s what’s currently going on in Canberra:
- Biologics are a type of medicine made from a living cell or organism, and used to treat conditions such as Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA), Psoriatic Arthritis (PsA), Psoriasis, Crohn’s Disease, MS and cancer.
- Biosimilars are a newer version of biologics, designed to mimic the same function as the original biologics. It’s good to remember that biosimilars are not simply generic medicines that we’re all used to, because these are living cells or organisms, so exact copies are impossible to make.
- Biosimilars are important to patients because their entry into the market provides a wider range of treatment options at lower prices. However, given that these biosimilars are new, there is limited evidence regarding their impact on patients and their safety must first be scientifically evaluated.
- The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) is the Australian government regulator that controls what medicines are safe for doctors to prescribe, when they can be prescribed, and to whom.
- The TGA’s current position on these new biosimilars is that they will only be declared safe for use when robust scientific evidence is available to affirm their safety.
- In April 2015, the TGA announced that it is reevaluating their position, however it’s unclear what scientific evidence prompted this review and on what basis any changes will be made.
- There is also a concern that the Australian federal government’s cost saving drive might informally impact on the decision making process of the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee (PBAC) – which decides the subsidies of medicines and appropriate substitutions of medicines (biologics to biosimilars) that might be allowed in Australia.
There IS something you can do to help!
The first step is to join CreakyJoints Australia. Get up to speed on the latest news patients are facing regarding our medicines. You don’t need to take a biologic to join us, but it would help if you knew or loved someone who did.
As a member of CreakyJoints Australia, you can explore lots of custom benefits designed just for you, including health education from experts, support resources from other patients, and global patient-centered research opportunities.
From there you’ll be in the loop about decisions such as those concerning our medicines, and how you can share your voice and/or your perspective. We expect this to happen quickly, so look for updates soon via email.
We will be conducting surveys of our CreakyJoints Australia members, which will be important for you to participate in. We’ll also give you an opportunity to use your own voice (through Twitter and Facebook) so that a chorus of patient voices will be heard by the Australian authorities.
The entire world is watching Australia for what will happen when the authorities decide what to do about future biosimilars, and we promise to do everything we can to make sure patient safety is the Number 1 priority! But it will require all of our strength as a community to be successful.