Helping FDA Inform Patients and Providers About Biosimilar Treatment Options
Biosimilars are almost identical to their biologic medicine counterparts. They provide the same treatment benefits, but are largely misunderstood. Patients and providers both need information to understand these treatment options and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) approach in evaluating and regulating these medicines. The FDA turned to Palladian Partners.
From 2016 to 2022, Palladian worked with FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research to design and implement two parallel campaigns—one focused on health care providers, and the other for patients and caregivers. These dynamic efforts took a “surround sound” approach, incorporating social media, stakeholder collaboration, advertising, and website development for the FDA.
The campaigns had to surmount important challenges—namely:
- How could the FDA best preserve its neutrality as a regulator?
- How could the FDA best address concerns and mistrust it might encounter among patients and the medical community?
Consider just one situation that the FDA understood many patients would encounter: it could take years for a patient to get on a successful treatment plan, and it could be their insurance company that first raises their awareness about biosimilars. Would such a switch be met with hope, hostility, or ambiguity?
Palladian took the view that clear and helpful information would empower patients, so we embraced plain language and eschewed jargon. We knew, for some, infographics and animated video would be more accessible than black-and-white text. Our goal was to connect with people no matter what form of communication they needed and no matter what platform they preferred.
Extending our campaign’s reach and impact, we also audited the FDA’s existing communications on the topic to ensure clarity and conformity in the agency’s approach..
Since the March 2015 approval of its first biosimilar, the FDA has now approved more than three-dozen biosimilar medications. Moreover, current estimates suggest one million Americans have turned to biosimilars. Thanks to Palladian’s work for the FDA, patients and providers are better equipped to understand these treatment options and potentially find more affordable, but clinically similar, medicines. Simply put: more affordable treatments can help more patients.
Palladian’s strategic communications expertise helped the FDA educate and empower providers and patients to make informed decisions about biosimilars.