While prescribing biosimilars to patients naive to a biologic treatment is a well-accepted practice, switching clinically stable patients from an originator to a biosimilar is an issue for clinicians. Well-designed clinical trials and real-world data which study the consequences of switching from an originator biologic treatment to its biosimilar alternative are limited, especially for monoclonal antibodies. Areas covered: A systematic literature review was conducted on PubMed to identify evidence of the consequences of switching from original biologics to biosimilars. References of included papers were also scrutinized. After a title-, abstract- and full text screening, out of the 153 original hits and 77 additional ones from screening the references, 58 papers (12 empirical papers, 5 systematic reviews and 41 non-empirical papers) were included. Expert opinion: Preventing patients on biologic medicines from switching to biosimilars due to anticipated risks seems to be disproportional compared to the expected cost savings and/or improved patient access. Indeed, it is the opinion of the authors that the concern of switching to biosimilars is overhyped.
Keywords: Biosimilar; immunogenicity; patient access; risk; societal benefit; substitution; switch.