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Survey: Oncology Pharmacy Practitioners Need More Biosimilar Education

April 30, 2020

While a percentage of oncology pharmacy practitioners believe that their guidance on biosimilars has influenced clinicians, many report that their knowledge of biosimilars is lacking in critical areas, according to the results of a recent survey.

Survey results were published in the Journal of Oncology Pharmacy Practice (online April 8, 2020; doi:10.1177/1078155219898510).

The International Society of Oncology Pharmacy Practitioners (ISOPP) Biosimilar Task Force sought to develop educational resources to address the learning needs related to biosimilar use among oncology pharmacy practitioners.

A cross-sectional survey was created and administered to members of ISOPP (n = 75) and national oncology pharmacy groups (n = 11) between December 10, 2018, and February 18, 2019. Led by Alexandre Chan, PharmD, MPH, department of clinical pharmacy practice, University of California at Irvine, the task force designed the survey with four sections and a total of 22 items.

Researchers utilized descriptive statistics to analyze the survey results.

Among the reported top areas in which respondents identified learning needs were evaluating comparative efficacy of a biosimilar to an originator product (74.4%), managing the switchover to a biosimilar from an original product (74.4%), and understanding medication safety issues in relation to biosimilar use (73.3%).

Additionally, researchers found that the most common challenges faced in obtaining education on biosimilars included limited financial support for education on biosimilar products (38.4%), heavy workload (31.4%), and inadequate educational resources (27.9%).

“This survey has identified numerous biosimilar learning needs as well as challenges faced in obtaining biosimilars education among oncology pharmacy practitioners,” authors of the study concluded, adding that, “these insights are tremendously important in order to allow ISOPP to develop educational material that will improve oncology pharmacists’ working knowledge of biosimilar products.”—Zachary Bessette

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