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Biosimilars: Considerations for Oncology Nurses

Vida Vizgirda
Ira Jacobs
CJON 2017, 21(2), E54-E60 DOI: 10.1188/17.CJON.E54-E60

Background: Biosimilars are developed to be highly similar to and treat the same conditions as licensed biologics. As they are approved and their use becomes more widespread, oncology nurses should be aware of their development and unique considerations.

Objectives: This article reviews properties of biosimilars; their regulation and approval process; the ways in which their quality, safety, and efficacy are evaluated; their postmarketing safety monitoring; and their significance to oncology nurses and oncology nursing.

Methods: A search of PubMed and regulatory agency websites was conducted for references related to the development and use of biosimilars in oncology.

Findings: Because biologics are large, structurally complex molecules, biosimilars cannot be considered generic equivalents to licensed biologic products. Consequently, regulatory approval for biosimilars is different from approval for small-molecule generics. Oncology nurses are in a unique position to educate themselves, other clinicians, and patients and their families about biosimilars to ensure accurate understanding, as well as optimal and safe use, of biosimilars.

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