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American College of Rheumatology Launches Biosimilar Patient Education Campaign for Rheumatic Disease Awareness Month

September 12, 2023 | ACR NewsTreatments


The ACR offers new resources to educate patients and support providers as the latest biosimilar, among several released in 2023, hits the market this month

ATLANTA – The American College of Rheumatology (ACR) today launched its patient education campaign, Biosimilars & You: A Guide to for Patients with Rheumatic Disease as part of Rheumatic Disease Awareness Month (RDAM). The campaign aims to help individuals diagnosed with a rheumatic disease better understand what biosimilars are and that these therapies may offer a treatment option as safe and effective as the original biologic they are based upon.

A 2023 survey looking at US patients’ attitudes about biosimilars found that patients expressed a desire to know more about biosimilars in general and specifically about how they compare with original biologics, their benefits, and their cost. The ACR, in consultation with practicing rheumatologists and rheumatology health professionals, developed resources, which include a video; an infographic; a patient fact sheet, and additional materials, to meet this need.

“Biosimilars are a class of medications that rheumatologists have long been prescribing in the US and Europe to successfully treat rheumatic conditions,” said Marcus Snow, MD, chair of the ACR Committee on Rheumatologic Care and spokesperson for RDAM 2023. “They go through a very stringent review process with the FDA and are verified to be just as safe as the biologics they are based upon. With so many new biosimilars available this year, we knew patients would have questions and providers would be seeking resources to share with their patients.”

More than 58.5 million American adults have been diagnosed with a rheumatic disease, and an estimated 300,000 children live with some type of juvenile arthritis. Prior to the advent of biosimilar therapies, there has been only one medication healthcare providers could prescribe for their patients with rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, lupus, and several other rheumatic diseases over the past decade. With new biosimilars available, the hope is that in addition to more options for treatment, there may also be potential for cost savings for patients. However, this has yet to be determined.

“With more and more biosimilars becoming available, it’s important to note that they are not synonymous with a ‘generic drug’ because they are not identical to the original biologic,” Snow said. “The difference between biosimilars and the original reference biologic compares to the difference between two buildings created from the same blueprints. The buildings will look the same, be the same height and have the same number of rooms and functionality. But they might have different paint colors, doorknobs, or other small differences. However, those differences do not change how the building functions; both have a sound foundation.”

The ACR aims to be a one-stop shop for patients and their healthcare providers to learn more about biosimilars. View all biosimilar resources from the patient education campaign at www.RDAM.org.

Media Contact
Monica McDonald


About the American College of Rheumatology
Founded in 1934, the American College of Rheumatology (ACR) is a not-for-profit, professional association committed to advancing the specialty of rheumatology that serves nearly 8,500 physicians, health professionals, and scientists worldwide. In doing so, the ACR offers education, research, advocacy and practice management support to help its members continue their innovative work and provide quality patient care. Rheumatology professionals are experts in the diagnosis, management and treatment of more than 100 different types of arthritis and rheumatic diseases.

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