Medical & Lifecycle Safety Team
Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is an umbrella name for a collection of conditions that affect the gut, including Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. These lifelong conditions can cause severe inflammation, sores and ulcers within the gastrointestinal tract and can have a significant impact on a patient’s quality of life.1 Crohn’s disease is more common among women, while ulcerative colitis is slightly more common among men and these conditions are becoming increasingly prevalent in more industrialized regions of the world, as a result of diet and lifestyle.2 While the cause of IBD is multi-faceted, between 5-20% of people affected by this condition will have a first-degree relative who also suffers.1
For people with moderate to severe disease, the introduction of anti-TNF biologic medicines was a significant therapeutic breakthrough, that is now considered a cornerstone of treatment. In addition, the more recent availability of biosimilars offers a more cost-effective solution to healthcare systems. Yet patients and physicians understandably have questions about the switch to a biosimilar compared to the reference medicine. However, there is now a significant body of evidence to suggest switching from a biologic medicine to a biosimilar does not increase the risk of safety issues or lead to a reduction in efficacy.3
As a company we are fully committed to addressing questions about biosimilars, and one of the ways we do this is by investing in real-world research, including among the IBD population. We aim to continue with this important work to expand our research into a broad range of disease areas, and in doing so we hope to empower physicians and patients to have considered and well-informed conversations around the possibility of biosimilars in conditions like IBD.