IAPO Americas

Briefing Paper on Biological and Biosimilar Medicines


At a time when the burden of chronic diseases is increasing across the world, ensuring that patients can access safe, quality, affordable and modern medicines such as biological medicines is vital to improving health. There are many barriers to patient access to new medicines, one of which is cost. In the coming decade we expect a great number of biosimilar medicines to become available for patients worldwide. These will provide alternative medicines for patients, usually at a lower cost than the original biological medicine, making these lifesaving medicines more accessible, and will increase options for doctors, patients and healthcare systems in general.

Informed decisions

As with all medicines, patients need to be able to make a fully informed decision about whether to take a biological or biosimilar medicine or not, and to be fully involved in deciding what treatment to pursue together with their healthcare team. It is therefore essential that patients have access to clear and impartial information about what biological and biosimilar medicines are, and what their growing availability will mean for them.

This IAPO Briefing Paper on Biological and Biosimilar Medicines, as part of a wider Toolkit, aims to provide detailed information about biosimilar medicines for patients’ organizations, and explore patients’ views revealed during research.

An overview of biological and biosimilar medicines

Part one of this Briefing Paper provides a comprehensive overview of what biological and biosimilar medicines are how they differ from other medicines, how they are developed and regulated, and their current impact and potential impact in the coming years.

The impact on patients

Part two explores what really matters to patients and patients’ organizations, highlighting the questions that patients asked during an online consultation and during interviews. It also explores the views of a variety of different healthcare stakeholders.


Download the full Briefing Paper