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Growing Confidence in Biosimilars?

  • MediaSource
Oct 27, 2022 5:16 pm

Today, Cardinal Health released its third edition of Rheumatology Insights, a research report based on surveys with more than 100 rheumatologists nationwide that focuses on key trends impacting one of the fastest-growing areas of specialty medicine. 

The research revealed that rheumatologists are both more familiar with biosimilars and more comfortable prescribing them than they were in 2020, just in time for a wave of new biosimilars anticipated to hit the market in 2023. Biosimilars are medications that are highly similar to Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved biologics, the fastest growing class of drugs in the U.S. They provide the same treatment benefits as their original biologics, called reference products, but are offered at lower costs and therefore expected to deliver meaningful cost savings to the healthcare system.

Biosimilars have been available in the rheumatology space since 2016, but their adoption has progressed much slower compared to other specialties. According to Cardinal Health’s research, 76% of rheumatologists are “very familiar” with biosimilars, up from 53% in the 2020 report, and 62% are “very comfortable” prescribing biosimilars, compared to 41% in the 2020 report. 

Confidence in biosimilars has increased in some of the most widely-used medications. The research shows 85% of rheumatologists are comfortable prescribing an adalimumab biosimilar once it is available, which is a biosimilar referencing one of the top selling pharmaceuticals in the world – HUMIRA®. 1 With new therapies and increasing clinical confidence in biosimilars, rheumatologists will have more treatment options than ever, requiring additional considerations associated with product selection and patient experiences. 

“The promise of biosimilars rests on the twin pillars of affordability and accessibility. Through increased competition for some of the costliest and critical treatment options, biosimilars are positioned to deliver meaningful savings across multiple stakeholders – healthcare institutions, the overall healthcare delivery system and most importantly, patients,” said Sonia Oskouei, PharmD, BCMS, DPLA, Vice President of Biosimilars at Cardinal Health. “However, this is only possible with the right healthcare delivery model and aligned incentives to ensure the value of these products are maximized. With so many biosimilars for adalimumab expected
to launch beginning in 2023, our research suggests that these therapies will make quite an impact on the overall treatment paradigm for patients with rheumatic conditions.” 

In addition to biosimiliars, the 2022 Rheumatology Insights report also explores rheumatologists’ perspectives on health inequities and navigating a rapidly changing industry: 

  • Nearly 85% of rheumatologists agree that health inequities exist across healthcare, and 60% say health inequities are especially prevalent in rheumatology.
  • Two and a half years into the pandemic, 58% of rheumatologists said their patients’ mental health is worse than when COVID-19 began.
Disclosures
The author has no conflicts of interest to disclose related to this subject

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