How Much are Biosimilars Used in Southern Italy? A Retrospective Analysis of Epoetin Utilization in the Local Health Unit of Messina in the Years 2010-2011

C Loiacono, C Sgroi, S Coppolino, A Cannata, R Ferrara, V Arcoraci, P Cananzi, V Savica, Martijn Schuemie, AP Caputi, Gianluca Trifiro

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Background: Epoetins are one of the three biologics for which biosimilars are available in Italy. So far, there is a lack of Italian national/regional longitudinal data about epoetin use. Objective: The aim of this study was to evaluate the prescribing pattern of epoetins (reference products and biosimilars) in a Local Health Unit (LHU) of Southern Italy in recent years. Methods: A retrospective drug utilization study was conducted during the period 1 January 2010 31 May 2011. The data source was the dispensing database of the Messina LHU, which contains anonymized data about dispensed drugs (including epoetins) that are prescribed by specialists to the residents in the catchment area. Indication of use and prescribed dosage of epoetins were derived by the therapeutic plans filled in by specialists and linked to drug dispensing records. Prevalence of epoetin use Results: Overall, 4288 patients were treated with epoetins during the study period (mean age +/- SD: 74.2 +/- 13.7; females: 52%). Darbepoetin alpha and reference product epoetin alpha accounted overall for 79.8% of epoetin users, while biosimilars of epoetin alpha accounted for 0.9%. Among 1247 epoetin users for whom the therapeutic plan was revised, 1065 (85.4%) were treated because of anemia due to chronic kidney disease and 158 (12.6%) because of chemotherapy-induced anemia. In 2010, prevale Conclusions: Epoetins are frequently dispensed to residents in the province of Messina, mainly for the treatment of chronic kidney disease-related anemia, with a relevant impact on the pharmaceutical expenditure covered by the National Health System. Use of biosimilar products is very low in both naive patients and in those who switch from other reference product epoetins.
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Pages (from-to)113-120
Number of pages8
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2012

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