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Physician Familiarity With Biosimilars

A new Cardinal Health report (2023 Biosimilars Report) reviewed the potential impact biosimilars will have in rheumatology, gastroenterology, dermatology, and ophthalmology.

The report surveyed 350 providers with a focus on the many adalimumab biosimilars launching in 2023. Currently, there are 8 FDA-approved adalimumab biosimilars.

Although biosimilars have had a gradual, even slow start in the United States, they represent an important way to drive substantial cost savings for some of the most expensive biologics on the market, according to Bruce Feinberg, DO, vice president and chief medical officer, Cardinal Health.

“Biosimilars bring competition and lower costs to patient-critical treatments. In order to deliver on the promise of these drugs from a health equity standpoint, we must continue to analyze prescriber awareness and familiarity. Through our research, Cardinal Health seeks to understand prescribers’ perceptions and what other factors are moving the industry forward—from business and financial decisions to provider adoption.”

The report noted a growing familiarity of biosimilars among rheumatologists, in the second spot among specialties, with 76% now saying they are very familiar with these products compared with 56% in a June 2022 report. Only gastroenterologists reported being more familiar than rheumatologists, with 81% saying they were very familiar with biosimilars. Ophthalmologists and dermatologists were far behind, with only 33% and 31%, respectively, saying they were “very familiar.”

All dermatologists, rheumatologists, and gastroenterologists also were asked about adalimumab biosimilars. By specialty, the top concerns regarding adalimumab were:

  • Dermatology—safety and efficacy (70%), transitioning a patient from the reference product to the biosimilar (40%), coverage decisions (39%), and lack of cost savings to the patient (39%)
  • Rheumatology—safety and efficacy (68%), interchangeability and having substitutions at the pharmacist level (47%), and lack of cost savings to the patient (43%)
  • Gastroenterology—transitioning a patient from the reference product to the biosimilar (44%), interchangeability and having substitutions at the pharmacist level (35%), and lack of cost savings to the patient (35%)

All physicians surveyed across the indicated specialties cited clinical and/or real-world evidence studies as key decision criteria for utilizing an adalimumab biosimilar.