Six keys to dispensing biosimilars

With the PBS listing of biosimilar Brenzys expected this autumn, many pharmacists will be confronted for the first time with the thorny issues around dispensing this drug category.

Indicated for several rheumatology conditions, Brenzys (etanercept) is likely to be a-flagged, meaning that pharmacists will be able to substitute it for the originator biologic, Enbrel.

Prescribing doctors will nonetheless be able to disallow brand substitution by ticking a box on the prescription form.

However, the Australian Rheumatology Association (ARA) remains opposed to a-flagging of biosimilars and says it has particular concerns with Brenzys.

Speaking at a media briefing on biosimilars, Dr Mona Marabani, chair of the ARA’s biosimilars working group, said that unlike the other approved rheumatology  biosimilar Inflectra, Brenzys is self-injectable and will be available at community pharmacies.