Sector News

Survey: Almost half of US physicians will prescribe more biosimilars

March 4, 2016
Life sciences

New data published by InCrowd has suggested that US physicians are very amenable to the prescription of biosimilars, with some believing that that they will become the norm in the next three years.

The results of the survey of targeted US biologics prescribers reflect a growing trend towards the use of biosimilars, efficacy and safety considerations notwithstanding, due to lower patient costs. Nearly half of the doctors surveyed anticipate that, with the availability of biosimilars increasing, their prescribing of biosimilars will expand in the next three years. Citing lower costs as a key driver, one in four physicians indicated that payers and insurance firms will ultimately determine, if not mandate, their level of biosimilar prescribing over the next three years.

Other key findings of the survey include:

  • 17% believe that biosimilar prescribing will become the norm in the next three years
  • 40% of respondents indicated that they would treat the substitution of the originator biologic with biosimilars on a case-by-case basis
  • Physicians expect to prescribe biosimilars to a greater proportion of their treatment-naïve patients (49%) – i.e. those who have never tried any drug treatment – than to patients currently or previously treated with the originator biologics (30% and 38% respectively)

One dermatologist who responded to the study writes: “If they are equally effective and cheaper, it’s tough to see a downside”. An oncologist echoed these views, indicating: “Biosimilars will be cheaper. If the efficacy is there and the price is better, then why not?”

Diane Hayes, PhD, president and co-founder of InCrowd, comments: “As the healthcare industry grapples with the best strategies to lower drug costs, the MicroSyndicated survey shows that while understandably prioritising efficacy and safety first, physicians are on board with their use. They key will lie in how payers decide to reimburse for biosimilars and their biologic counterparts.”

The survey itself captured data from 150 US-based board-certified physicians working in specialities where biologics prescribing is significant, including endocrinology, gastroenterology and oncology.

As we have highlighted before, the US has lagged behind European progress on biosimilars. While the first biosimilar drug hit the European market in 2006, regulation allowing biosimilars to fully reach the US market only began to gather pace with Obama’s Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in 2010. With $70 billion worth of patents due to expire in 2020, we predicted that 2016 could be a year when the biosimilar floodgates open in America. According to this new survey, this may in fact be the case.

By Sean Murray

Source: PharmaFile

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