US doctors poised to prescribe biosimilars Posted 18/03/2016

A survey of specialists in the US has found that nearly half of them expect to prescribe biosimilars to treatment-naïve patients.

The survey by healthcare market research company InCrowd included data from 150 US-based board-certified physicians in specialties where prescribing of biologicals is significant. Thirty specialists from each of the specialities of dermatology, endocrinology, gastroenterology, oncology and rheumatology were included, all of whom had been in practice for at least three years.

The survey found that:
      • 17% of respondents felt biosimilars would become the norm or replace biologicals in the next three years
      • 20% stated they were likely to strictly prohibit pharmacy-level substitution of the originator biological with biosimilars, compared to 30% who would never prohibit substitutions and 40% that would treat substitutions on a case-by-case basis
      • efficacy (89%) and safety (81%) outranked patient costs (71%) among the most important factors in determining whether physicians would prescribe biosimilars
      • 83% of respondents said they would prescribe a biosimilar if it were 25% cheaper versus just 33% if it were only 5% cheaper
      • physicians expect to prescribe biosimilars to treatment-naïve patients (49%) - those who have never tried any drug treatment – rather than to patients currently or previously treated with originator biologicals (30% and 38%, respectively)

The survey concluded that notwithstanding efficacy and safety considerations, US physicians are poised to embrace biosimilars as a potentially important way to reduce patient drug costs.

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved its first biosimilar Zarxio (filgrastim-sndz) in 2015 [1]. Then in February 2016 FDA advisers voted to recommend the approval of Celltrion’s infliximab biosimilar (CT-P13) [2].

This latest survey paints a more positive picture of likely biosimilars prescribing in the US than a survey carried out by online physician’s platform and community QuantiaMD in March 2015. The QuantiaMD survey found that a mere 17% of prescribing specialists were ‘very likely’ to prescribe biosimilars, with the main problems being lack of awareness and education [3].

Related article
Biosimilars approved in the US

References
1. GaBI Online - Generics and Biosimilars Initiative. FDA approves its first biosimilar [www.gabionline.net]. Mol, Belgium: Pro Pharma Communications International; [cited 2015 Mar 18]. Available from: www.gabionline.net/Biosimilars/News/FDA-approves-its-first-biosimilar
2. GaBI Online - Generics and Biosimilars Initiative. FDA advisers recommend approval of Celltrion’s infliximab biosimilar [www.gabionline.net]. Mol, Belgium: Pro Pharma Communications International; [cited 2016 Mar 18]. Available from: www.gabionline.net/Biosimilars/News/FDA-advisers-recommend-approval-of-Celltrion-s-infliximab-biosimilar
3. GaBI Online - Generics and Biosimilars Initiative. Doctors’ survey reveals lack of confidence in biosimilars [www.gabionline.net]. Mol, Belgium: Pro Pharma Communications International; [cited 2016 Mar 18]. Available from: www.gabionline.net/Reports/Doctors-survey-reveals-lack-of-confidence-in-biosimilars

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