Biologic therapies represent some of the most significant medical advances in modern history. Within this class of therapies there is a wide range of products that have proven effective in the treatment of patients suffering from conditions ranging from cancer, to arthritis and chronic headache. Biologics differ from chemically synthesized pharmaceutical drugs in that they are produced through utilizing biotechnology to isolate proteins, sugars and/or nuclear acids as the basis for creating an often large and complex therapeutic compound.
Physicians welcome the opportunity to utilize these new therapies to treat disease and relieve suffering. However, as with the introduction of any breakthrough technology, biologics increasing presence in the therapeutic arsenal raises difficult issues and the need for policymakers to to balance the sometimes competing interests of access, safety and costs.
On behalf of their patients, physicians have an important role to play in educating the public and policymakers as to the nature, uses and benefits of biologics. In order to do so effectively, the National Physicians Biologics Working Group serves as a home for physicians seeking to better understand the policy issues relating to biologics and the opportunities to educate the policymakers with the objective of furthering informed policy that successfully preserves access, physician clinical decision making and respects the primacy of patient safety.