Two “Great Debates” at this year’s annual meeting of the American College of Rheumatology in San Diego will center on important, but completely separate, issues in rheumatology: whether it is safe to switch to a biosimilar and the relevance of curricular milestones in rheumatology training.
At 2:30 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 5, a session titled “Biosimilars ... To Switch or Not to Switch? That Is the Question“ will pit Jonathan Kay, MD, against Roy Fleischmann, MD, to try to sway the audience to their point of view in the face of a small evidence base about the consequences of switching.
Dr. Kay, the Timothy S. and Elaine L. Peterson Chair in Rheumatology and professor of medicine at the University of Massachusetts, Worcester, where he directs clinical research in the division of rheumatology, will discuss and defend the usefulness of biosimilars for rheumatoid arthritis in his presentation, “The Data Supports That It Is Safe, Effective and Cost-Effective to Switch to a Biosimilar.” He has been greatly involved in clinical research on the development of biosimilars to treat rheumatic diseases in recent years.
In his presentation, “The Data Is Not Convincing. One Study Cannot Be Generalized to All Indications, and Some Studies Suggest That It Is Not Safe, Not Effective and Not Cost-Effective to Switch All Patients (YET) to a Biosimilar,” Dr. Fleischmann will discuss and defend the position that biosimilars are not yet well-enough researched to confidently allow switching. Dr. Fleischmann is clinical professor in the department of internal medicine at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas.
At 7:30 a.m. on Monday, Nov. 6, two clinician-educators will advocate for opposing opinions in “The Great (Educational) Debate: Milestones: Meaningful vs. Millstone.” The debate will focus on the relative merits of the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education’s Next Accreditation System, which in 2013 led to a paradigm shift in how training programs approach curriculum development, and how both trainees and their programs are assessed.
Calvin Brown, MD, professor of medicine in the division of rheumatology and director of the rheumatology training program at Northwestern University, Chicago, will describe the reported and perceived benefits of the milestones, while Simon Helfgott, MD, of Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston, will summarize the arguments that underlie the call for radical change in the milestones system of evaluation