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Healthcare professionals’ perceptions and perspectives on biosimilar medicines and the barriers and facilitators to their prescribing in UK: a qualitative study
  1. Mohammed Ibrahim Aladul1,2,
  2. Raymond William Fitzpatrick1,
  3. Stephen Robert Chapman1
  1. 1 School of Pharmacy, Keele University, Newcastle-Under-Lyme, UK
  2. 2 School of Pharmacy, University of Mosul, Mosul, Iraq
  1. Correspondence to Professor Stephen Robert Chapman; s.r.chapman{at}


Objective To investigate UK healthcare professionals’ perceptions and perspectives towards biosimilar infliximab, etanercept and insulin glargine and the potential barriers and facilitators to their prescribing.

Design A cross-sectional qualitative study design was used.

Setting Five hospitals within the West Midlands area in UK.

Interventions 30 min face-to-face, semistructured interviews of healthcare professionals.

Participants 22 healthcare professionals (consultants, nurses and pharmacists) participated in the semistructured interviews.

Outcomes Participants’ opinion and attitudes about biosimilars and the barriers and facilitators to the prescribing of infliximab, etanercept and insulin glargine biosimilars in gastroenterology, rheumatology and diabetology specialties.

Results This study showed that UK healthcare professionals had good knowledge of biosimilars and were content to initiate them. Healthcare professionals disagreed with biosimilar auto-substitution at pharmacy level and multiple switching. Subtle differences among healthcare professionals were identified in the acceptance of switching stable patients, indication extrapolation and cost savings sharing.

Conclusion Safety and efficacy concerns, patients’ opinion and how cost savings were shared were the identified barriers to considering prescribing biosimilars. Real-life data and financial incentives were the suggested facilitators to increase biosimilar utilisation.

  • health policy
  • gastroenterology
  • rheumatology
  • qualitative research

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  • Contributors All authors have contributed to this study and all authors reviewed and approved the final version of the manuscript. MIA participated in the study design, data collection, interpretation of results, prepared the manuscript draft and performed all analytical testing and manuscript review. RWF participated in the study design, interpreted the results and reviewed the manuscript and corrected the final version of the manuscript. SRC designed the study, interpreted the results and reviewed the manuscript and corrected the final version of the manuscript. All authors had full access to all of the data in the study and can take responsibility for the integrity of the data and the accuracy of the data analysis.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent Obtained.

  • Ethics approval Independent Peer Review Committee at Keele University (Reference 421) and Health Research Authority Committee London – Surrey Borders (Reference 17/LO/0084)

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data sharing statement Given the sensitive nature of the study interviews, raw data are not publicly available. Interested persons may contact the corresponding author for more information.

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