bDMARDs are a class of medicine that have made a significant improvement in the management of chronic diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease and chronic dermatological conditions. These biological medicines are part of the fastest‐growing sector of the pharmaceutical market. This is an increasingly complex area for consumers, specialists and pharmacists to navigate.
With funding from the Australian Government Department of Health, NPS MedicineWise and a range of organisations representing specialists, pharmacists, consumers and research experts have formed a consortium (the Targeted Therapies Alliance), to provide stewardship and direction by developing access to up-to-date and evidence-based information about the safe and wise use of bDMARDs and other specialised medicines to ensure the best possible health and economic outcomes.
About the Targeted Therapies Alliance
The role of the Alliance is to help consumers and health professionals make safe and wise therapeutic decisions about biological disease modifying antirheumatic drugs and other specialised medicines. Funded by the Australian Government Department of Health through the Value in Prescribing – Biological Disease Modifying Anti-Rheumatic Drugs (bDMARDs) Program Grant.
Read more about the grant here
The Alliance will be jointly responsible for a range of evidence-based educational resources, tools and interventions to support consumers, specialist prescribers, pharmacists, nurses and governance bodies (such as hospital Drug and Therapeutic Committees)
- Arthritis Australia
- Australia and New Zealand Musculoskeletal (ANZMUSC) Clinical Trials Network
- Australian Rheumatology Association
- Cochrane Musculoskeletal
- Council of Australian Therapeutic Advisory Groups
- NPS MedicineWise
- Pharmaceutical Society of Australia
- Quality Use of Medicines and Pharmacy Research Centre (University of South Australia)
- Society of Hospital Pharmacists of Australia
Over the coming months, NPS MedicineWise and the organisations who make up the Alliance will publish specific information about the use of biological and other specialised medicines across a range of rheumatology, dermatology and gastroenterology conditions. This will include, for example, rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, psoriatic arthritis, psoriasis, Crohn disease and ulcerative colitis.
Access to the information developed by organisations who make up the Alliance will be promoted and made available through this website and through Alliance members’websites.
When will the information be made available?
The first area of focus will be rheumatology. A range of content and resources will be published from September 2020. From December 2020 information relating to gastroenterology and dermatology will be available.
What type of information and resources will be available for specialists?
What type of information and resources will be available for specialists?
Specialists face a number of on-going challenges in their day to day decision making:
- which individual patients will benefit more from a given medicine?
- which patients will have an inadequate response?
- which are at a higher risk of toxicity or intolerance prior to treatment commencement?
The content made available through the Alliance will include evidence-based information to support decision making and resources to help specialists to keep up-to-date with guidelines for the quality use of highly specialised medicines.
Living evidence guidelines
The development of a clinical practice guideline containing recommendations for the pharmacological management of rheumatological conditions is currently being led by one of the Targeted Therapies Alliance partners. The 'living' recommendations contained within the guidelines will be continuously updated as relevant new evidence emerges. The guidelines will assist prescribers to provide evidence- based management based on up-to-date synthesis of the best available evidence.
A priority list of questions generated by members of the Australian Rheumatology Association (ARA) will also inform the choice of questions addressed by the guideline, at baseline and as the living guideline develops over time.
Draft recommendations for b/tsDMARD dose reduction and discontinuation – available for public comment
Three draft recommendations of the ‘Australian Living Guideline for the Pharmacological Management of Inflammatory Arthritis’ have been published pending NHMRC approval. Public review is now sought for the draft recommendations relating to dose reduction and discontinuation of biological and targeted synthetic disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (b/tsDMARDs) for rheumatoid arthritis, axial spondyloarthritis and psoriatic arthritis.
Click HERE to access and comment on the Living Guideline.
Educational visiting service
An educational visiting service (otherwise known as academic detailing) will be available to specialist prescribers of bDMARDs, providing focused and tailored clinician education.
PBS Practice Reviews
Individual PBS prescribing data reports will be provided to specialist prescribers including aggregate data comparisons with other prescribers.
Information and resources for consumers
Information provided on this site and through the Targeted Therapies Alliance will enable consumers to be better informed about the medicine options available and associated benefits and harms including fact sheets links to useful resources and webinars.
This will enable consumers and health professionals to work together to make decisions that take into account personal values, preferences and circumstances.
Information and resources for pharmacists and nurses
Community pharmacists, hospital pharmacists and nurses all play a crucial role in supporting patient use of bDMARDs and other specialised medicines. A range of education resources and tools will be made available including online learning modules, webinars and case studies. These activities will facilitate patient adherence and provide evidence-based information about the role of biologics in managing a range of rheumatology, gastroenterology and dermatology conditions.
Information and resources for hospitals and Drug and Therapeutics Committees
Information, tools and resources will support Drug and Therapeutics Committees to achieve good medicines governance and assist in policy framing. Resources will include Guiding Principles and Positions Statements, which will be applicable and adaptable across the spectrum of care. These resources will facilitate quality use of bDMARDs and other specialised medicines.
Useful NPS MedicineWise resources
Australian Prescriber an independent peer-reviewed journal providing critical commentary on drugs and therapeutics for health professionals
Choosing Wisely a global health initiative that is enabling clinicians, consumers and healthcare stakeholders to start important conversations about tests, treatments and procedures, where evidence shows they provide no benefit, or in some cases, lead to harm.
RADAR provides health professionals with timely, independent, evidence-based information on new drugs and medical tests and changes to listings on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme and Medicare Benefits Schedule.
MedicineWise app enabling consumers to keep track of medicines and access important health information. Funded by the Department of Health