North London Partners in health and care

Effective and safe biosimilar adalimumab set to save acute trusts £6m

All north central London (NCL) acute provider trusts have begun transitioning their patients to biosimilar adalimumab to save a total of £6m by October 2019.  

Adalimumab is a hospital only medicine used by more than 2,400 patients across the seven NCL acute trusts for inflammatory conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease and psoriasis. In October 2018 biosimilar adalimumab products became available which are equally safe and effective and are more competitively priced.  

Uptake of biosimilars across NCL in the past has been successful but slow, therefore NCL acute trusts and CCGs funded a Medicines Efficiency Programme (MEP) team to support the transition of patients to biosimilar adalimumab at scale and at pace. This centralised team allowed for a coordinated approach including clinician engagement, patient awareness, sharing best practice, and supporting administrative / monitoring processes across North London Partners. 

Patients and clinicians have supported this project and the first patients received biosimilar adalimumab in January with the majority anticipated to be using biosimilar adalimumab by March 2019. This project is on target to deliver a projected saving of £6 million by October 2019.  

Further work supported by the MEP team over the next 12 months includes:

  • decommissioning of medicines considered by NHS England to be ‘of low clinical value’
  • alternative supply models (dressings, nutrition and stoma)
  • implementing health innovation programs to address polypharmacy, (the use of multiple medications by a patient) and prescribing errors (PINCER audit tool for GP practices and T-CAM (transfer of care around medicines) to improve handover of patients on discharge)
  • optimising use of Blueteq, a national electronic database, to support the generation of data on the appropriate use of CCG funded high cost medicines

For further information, please contact the MEP team on 020 344 72866 or via email at