A podcast that explores this compelling treatment option.

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A podcast that sheds light on biosimilars and helps you better understand the role they play in your healthcare, now and in the future.

Our goal is to introduce you to biosimilars, what they are, how they get approved, their potential savings and what promise they hold. Hosted by Zoe Rothblatt, Patient Advocate and Community Outreach Manager at GHLF and Conner Mertens, Patient Advocate and Community Outreach Manager at GHLF.

BREAKING DOWN BIOSIMILARS

Check out the first episodes of Breaking Down Biosimilars below and wherever you listen to podcasts. Be sure to subscribe for access to future episodes. Tell your family and friends to listen so they too can learn all about biosimilars, what they are and what promise they hold for our healthcare.

Episode 1

Biosimilars 101

Biosimilar medications were introduced into the US market in 2015, but they’re still relatively unfamiliar to many people. In our first episode, co-hosts Zoe Rothblatt and Conner Mertens provide an overview of biosimilars – what they are, how they can help with certain medical conditions, and the main differences between biosimilars, biologics and generic medications.

“If we have a patient with rheumatoid arthritis and they take the original biologic or the biosimilar, their rheumatoid arthritis will improve with either of them,” says internal medicine physician Dr. Sameer Awsare.

Episode 2

How Are Biosimilars Approved?

Biosimilar medications must still win approval by the US Food and Drug Administration. In this episode, co-hosts Zoe Rothblatt and Conner Mertens explore that approval process, and explain the unique naming convention the FDA came up with for biosimilars.

“They were really, really driven to understand how their naming convention was being used. And I think that’s pretty admirable, that it’s not just that you’re putting out this standard and saying, ‘This is the standard and you have to follow it’,” says Criswell Lavery, Clinical Research Coordinator, University of Pennsylvania

Episode 3

Getting Comfortable with Biosimilars

Many patients have questions and may be reluctant to make the switch to biosimilars at first. In this episode, hosts Zoe Rothblatt and Conner Mertens talk to a few patients about their experiences starting a biosimilar. They discuss some of the hurdles they face, like overcoming hesitancy, getting insurance coverage, and setting up delivery with a specialty pharmacy.

“After having a conversation with my rheumatologist, she explained that the biosimilar that I would be taking is very, very similar to the original one, and the difference really lies more so in the branding and the naming of it as opposed to the actual efficacy of the medication,” says Lauren McClinton, who takes a biosimilar for idiopathic arthritis.

Episode 4

Patients Making the Switch

In this episode, Zoe and Conner check in with several patients who’ve made the switch to a biosimilar to find out how they’re doing. Some patients taking a biosimilar have to travel to an infusion site to receive their medication, while others inject their medication at home. In those cases, biosimilars can only be processed and delivered through specialty pharmacies. We hear how several people are handling the adjustment.

“I actually enjoy my infusion day. The best thing to do is call this ‘me time’,” says Shelley Fritz, who takes the biosimilar Inflectra for her rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia.

Episode 5

The Price and Hoops to Saving Money

When biosimilars were introduced into the US, there was much talk about how much money they could potentially save patients. Getting a biosimilar developed and approved by the US Food & Drug Administration (FDA) is not as rigorous or time-consuming as for a biologic … which was touted as being more economical. And insurance companies were supposed to pass along savings to consumers. In this episode, Zoe and Conner look at why that hasn’t happened to any large degree, and what can be done about it.

“I think there’s going to be a healthy competition on pricing that we haven’t had until now,” says Dr. Simon Helfgott, rheumatologist at Brigham & Women’s Hospital in Boston.

Episode 6

Dispelling Myths About Biosimilars

Biosimilars were first introduced into the US market about six years ago, but getting the all-important “patient buy-in” has been a slow process. Many patients are reluctant to switch to a biosimilar if they’re already happy taking a biologic. But another reason is the proliferation of myths and misinformation about biosimilars, which can be difficult to counteract.

In this episode, Zoe and Conner talk to a few medical professionals about the most common biosimilar falsehoods, and what can be done to stop their spread.

Episode 7

The Future of Biosimilars

The introduction of biosimilars in the US has been hampered by unrealized cost savings, myths and misinformation, and patient hesitancy. Still, many medical professionals see much to be optimistic about in the next few years. New biosimilars will soon be approved for the US market, and expectations are that costs will begin to come down as a result. In this episode, Zoe and Conner discuss some of the good news about biosimilars.

“I think what we’re seeing now is a critical mass. And I think that in the next 3 to 5 years, we’re going to see a deluge, because all of the self-injectable drugs that are waiting to come on the market will be finally be able to do that,” says Dr. Simon Helfgott, a rheumatologist at Brigham & Women’s Hospital in Boston.

Behind The Mic

Hosted by Zoe Rothblatt and Conner Mertens, Patient Advocates and Community Outreach Managers at GHLF.

Zoe Bubble

Zoe Rothblatt, MPH
Zoe Rothblatt is a Patient Advocate and Community Outreach Manager at the Global Healthy Living Foundation. She lives with arthritis and Crohn’s disease, so she understands the importance of having access to treatment options. Through personal conversations with fellow arthritis patients, Zoe along with her co-host explores what it’s like to take a biosimilar.

Conner Bubble

Conner Mertens
Conner Mertens is a Patient Advocate and Community Outreach Manager. His direct daily contact with patients supports CreakyJoints’ mission to understand and support our community. His work supports the 50-State Network of advocates, helping people with chronic disease share their story to their family, community, elected and appointed leaders.

Simon Bubble

Simon Helfgott, MD
Dr. Simon M Helfgott is Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School in the Division of Rheumatology, Inflammation, and Immunity where he currently serves as its Director of Education & Fellowship Training. He is deeply committed to medical teaching and developing new teaching formats for training medical students, residents, and fellows.

Criswell Bubble

Criswell Lavery
Criswell Lavery is a Clinical Research Coordinator, previously based in the Rheumatology Department at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. While there, she did research into biosimilar use in clinical practice, immune responses to vaccination, and rheumatoid and osteoarthritis. Now, she runs the front end of a patient registry for a rare disease research group.

Robert Bubble

Robert Popovian, Pharm.D., MS
Dr. Robert Popovian is the Founder of the strategic consulting firm Conquest Advisors. He also serves as Chief Science Policy Officer at the Global Healthy Living Foundation, Vice-President, Health Economics and Policy for ConsenSys Health and Senior Healthy Policy Fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute.

Sameer Bubble

Sameer V. Awsare, M.D., F.A.C.P.
Dr. Sameer Awsare is an Associate Executive Director for The Permanente Medical Group in charge of Pharmacy, Adult and Family Medicine, Mental Health, Risk Adjusted Coding, Revenue Cycle, Outside Medical Services, Pain Management and the Opioid Initiative.

Lauren Bubble

Lauren McClinton
Lauren McClinton is a patient engagement researcher and professional working in digital health. She was diagnosed with juvenile idiopathic arthritis at three years old and now lives in Toronto, Canada. Inspired by her own experiences, Lauren’s work has focused on the importance of patient voices in research and healthcare.

Shelly Bubble

Shelley Fritz
Shelley Fritz is an educational consultant with over twenty-five years’ experience of teaching and designing professional development for educators in elementary education within the public school system. After her diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis in 2012, Shelley became involved in patient advocacy with CreakyJoints serving as a Patient Governor for three years.

Sabina Bubble

Sabina Netto
Sabina Netto was diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis in 2019 and is currently on a biosimilar treatment. She enjoys reading, finding scenic walking trails and spending time with family and friends. Her professional background is in local government Human Resources.

MORE RESOURCES

Download the 2nd Edition Patient Guide to Biosimilars

READ MORE >

Biosimilars Explained: Answers to Questions You’ve Been Asking

READ MORE >

14 Things You Should Do Any Time You Start a New Medication for Arthritis

READ MORE >

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Breaking Down Biosimilars is a new podcast series produced by the non-profit Global Healthy Living Foundation, and made possible with support from Amgen. Breaking Down Biosimilars is a podcast that sheds light on biosimilars and helps you better understand the role they play in your healthcare, now and in the future. Our goal is to introduce you to biosimilars, what they are, how they get approved, their potential savings and what promise they hold. Hosted by Zoe Rothblatt and Conner Mertens, Patient Advocates and Community Outreach Managers at GHLF.

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