This website is intended for healthcare professionals only.

Hospital Healthcare Europe
Hospital Healthcare Europe

New statement supports switching to biosimilar from reference product in IBD

9 December, 2016  

Celltrion Healthcare welcomes the publication of the latest position paper from the European Crohn’s and Colitis Organisation (ECCO) on the use of biosimilars for inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), which supports switching from reference infliximab to biosimilar infliximab.1

 The ECCO statement covers several aspects related to biosimilars and the key positions are:1

Switching from the originator to a biosimilar in patients with IBD is acceptable following appropriate discussion between physicians, nurses, pharmacists, and patients, and according to national recommendation.

When a biosimilar product is registered in the EU, it is considered to be as efficacious as the reference product when used in accordance with the information provided in the Summary of Product Characteristics.

Demonstration of safety of biosimilars requires large observational studies with long-term follow-up in IBD patients.

Data for the usage of biosimilars in IBD can be extrapolated from another sensitive indication.

As for all biologics, traceability should be based on a robust pharmacovigilance system.

This marks a significant shift in attitude from the previous ECCO position paper, which advised that switching from an established biologic to a biosimilar was inappropriate and called for more data on the safety and benefit of biosimilars in general.2

Professor Silvio Danese, President Elect of ECCO and Head of the IBD Unit, Humanitas Clinical and Research Center, Italy commented: “This position statement reflects the growing body of data in support of biosimilars, in particular CT-P13. Findings from the 2015 ECCO survey of IBD specialists found that around 80% of specialists are either totally confident, very confident or confident enough in using biosimilars, which is a huge change compared to 39% when a similar survey was conducted back in 2013.”3

Man Hoon Kim, President and CEO of Celltrion Healthcare, said: “This position paper comes amid a global trend encouraging the use of biosimilars. Rising healthcare costs and the consequent financial burden placed on health services are some of the biggest challenges many countries face. While biologics have positively impacted patient treatment, their high costs may limit patient access to these modern medicines. The availability of generally less expensive treatment options like biosimilars can reduce pressure on healthcare system resources.

Biosimilars are a cost effective alternative to biological therapies and can eventually lead to potential budget savings and provide improved access to life-changing treatment for patients.”

Celltrion Healthcare has already seen success with CT-P13 – the world’s first monoclonal antibody biosimilar approved by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) and the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The recently released NOR-SWITCH study revealed that efficacy and safety were maintained in patients switched to CT-P13 from originator infliximab and it is not inferior to those who continued treatment with the originator.4 These findings were presented at the 2016 United European Gastroenterology (UEG) Week in October and at the 2016 American College of Rheumatology (ACR) Annual Meeting in November.


  1. Danese S et al. ECCO Position Statement on the use of biosimilars for inflammatory bowel disease – An update. Journal of Crohn’s and Colitis 2016 1–9 doi:10.1093/ecco-jcc/jjw198.
  2. Danese S et al. ECCO position statement: the use of biosimilar medicines in the treatment of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Journal of Crohn’s and Colitis 2013 7(7):586-9. doi: 10.1016/j.crohns.2013.03.011.
  3. Danese S et al. Changes in biosimilar knowledge among European Crohn’s Colitis Organization (ECCO) members. A updated Survey. Journal of Crohn’s and Colitis. 2016 DOI:
  4. Kvien T et al. Biosimilar infliximab (CT-P13) is not inferior to originator infliximab: Results from a 52-week randomized switch trial in Norway. American College of Rheumatology (ACR) 2016;19L.