FAQ For Patients

1. What is a biosimilar?
A biosimilar is a biological medication that is highly similar to the original product. This means that you can expect the same safety and effectiveness from the biosimilar when comparing it to the original product. Biosimilars are made from the same sources (e.g., living cells or microorganisms).

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2. Will I save money by using a biosimilar?
Yes, you will save money when you use a biosimilar. When the patent of the original product expires, another pharmaceutical company may start manufacturing a biosimilar. A biosimilar is cheaper than the original product as they do not need to invest in the research and development of the biosimilar. Hence, biosimilar can be sold at a lower cost compared to the original product. However, some insurance companies may not cover the cost of biosimilar. Do check with your insurance provider if you are unsure.

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3. What is the difference between biosimilar and generic drugs?
Biosimilar is a biologic medication, which is essentially a large complex molecule that is composed of living material and is almost impossible to replicate identically. A generic drug is a simple molecule or structure which can be synthesized chemically, where the active ingredient is an exact copy of the original product.


4. Is it safe to take a biosimilar if I started treatment on the original product first?
A systematic review which evaluated the impact of switching biosimilar from original product showed no increase in treatment related safety event or loss of efficacy.

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5. How will I know if I am using a biosimilar for my treatment?
Often, biosimilars are given in a hospital or an infusion centre. Talk to the doctor or nurse who is giving you the treatment and ask them if you have been prescribed a biosimilar or the original product.