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      Development of biosimilars in an era of oncologic drug shortages

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          Acute and chronic shortages of various pharmaceuticals and particularly of sterile injectable products are being reported on a global scale, prompting evaluation of more effective strategies to manage current shortages and development of new, high-quality pharmaceutical products to mitigate the risk of potential future shortages. Oncology drugs such as liposomal doxorubicin and 5-fluorouracil represent examples of first-choice drugs critically affected by shortages. Survey results indicate that the majority of hospitals and practicing oncologists have experienced drug shortages, which may have compromised patient safety and clinical outcomes, and increased health care costs, due to delays or changes in treatment regimens. Clinical trials evaluating novel agents in combination with standard-of-care drugs are also being affected by drug shortages. Clinical and ethical considerations on treatment objectives, drug indication, and availability of alternative options may help in prioritizing cancer patients involved in active drug shortages. The United States Food and Drug Administration and the European Medicines Agency have identified manufacturing problems, delays in supply, and lack of available active ingredients as the most frequent causes of recent or ongoing drug shortages, and have released specific guidance to monitor, manage, and reduce the risk of shortages. The upcoming loss of exclusivity for a number of anticancer biologics, together with the introduction of an abbreviated approval pathway for biosimilars, raises the question of whether these products will be vulnerable to shortages. Future supply by reliable manufacturers of well characterized biosimilar monoclonal antibodies, developed in compliance with regulatory and manufacturing guidelines and with substantial investments, may contribute to prevent future biologics shortages and ensure access to effective and safe treatment options for patients with cancer. Preclinical and clinical characterization is ongoing for potential biosimilars of trastuzumab, rituximab, and bevacizumab, with promising results.

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          Most cited references 64

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          Biosimilars-why terminology matters.

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            Impact of drug shortages on U.S. health systems.

            A study was performed to quantify the personnel resources required to manage drug shortages, define the impact of drug shortages on health systems nationwide, and assess the adequacy of information resources available to manage drug shortages. An online survey was sent to the 1322 members of the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists who were identified as directors of pharmacy. Survey recipients were asked to identify which of the 30 most recent drug shortages listed affected their health system, to identify actions taken to manage the shortage, and to rate the impact of each shortage. Employees responsible for completing predefined tasks were identified, and the average time spent by each type of employee completing these tasks was estimated. Labor costs associated with managing shortages were calculated. A total of 353 respondents completed the survey, yielding a response rate of 27%. Pharmacists and pharmacy technicians spent more time managing drug shortages than did physicians and nurses. There was a significant association between the time spent managing shortages and the size of the institution, the number of shortages managed, and the institution's level of automation. Overall, 70% of the respondents felt that the information resources available to manage drug shortages were not good. The labor costs associated with managing shortages in the United States is an estimated $216 million annually. A survey of directors of pharmacy revealed that labor costs and the time required to manage drug shortages are significant and that current information available to manage drug shortages is considered suboptimal.
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              ASHP Guidelines on Managing Drug Product Shortages in Hospitals and Health Systems.


                Author and article information

                Drug Des Devel Ther
                Drug Des Devel Ther
                Drug Design, Development and Therapy
                Dove Medical Press
                24 June 2015
                : 9
                : 3247-3255
                [1 ]University of New England College of Pharmacy, Portland, ME, USA
                [2 ]Hanna Cancer Associates, Knoxville, TN, USA
                [3 ]Pfizer Inc, La Jolla, CA, USA
                [4 ]Pfizer Inc, New York, NY, USA
                [5 ]Pfizer Inc, Groton, CT, USA
                Author notes
                Correspondence: Edward Li, University of New England College of Pharmacy, 716 Stevens Avenue, Portland, ME 04103, USA, Tel +1 207 221 4120, Fax +1 207 523 1927, Email eli@ 123456une.edu
                © 2015 Li et al. This work is published by Dove Medical Press Limited, and licensed under Creative Commons Attribution – Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License

                The full terms of the License are available at http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/. Non-commercial uses of the work are permitted without any further permission from Dove Medical Press Limited, provided the work is properly attributed.



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