UnitedHealthcare Will Prefer Amgen's Anticancer Biosimilars Beginning in October

In its August 2019 network bulletin, UnitedHealthcare indicated that, beginning October 1, 2019, biosimilar bevacizumab (Mvasi) and biosimilar trastuzumab (Kanjinti), both made by Amgen, will be preferred products for commercial and community plans.
Kelly Davio
August 15, 2019
This article has been updated.

In its August 2019 network bulletin, UnitedHealthcare indicated that, beginning October 1, 2019, biosimilar bevacizumab (Mvasi) and biosimilar trastuzumab (Kanjinti), both made by Amgen, will be preferred products for commercial and community (but not Medicare Advantage) plans.

The reference bevacizumab (Avastin) and trastuzumab (Herceptin) will no longer be preferred products.

Additionally, other biosimilars, not yet launched in the United States, will not be preferred oncology products. In documents related to community plans, UnitedHealthcare indicated that Pfizer’s bevacizumab biosimilar (Zirabev), and trastuzumab biosimilars made by Celltrion and Teva (Herzuma), Mylan and Biocon (Ogivri), Samsung Bioepis (Ontruzant), and Pfizer (Trazimera) will be non-preferred products.

Other changes taking place on October 1 include listing biosimilar filgrastim (Zarxio), made by Sandoz, as a preferred product. Use of Zarxio will be required before use of follow-on filgrastim (Granix), brand-name filgrastim (Neupogen), or Pfizer’s biosimilar product (Nivestym).

Earlier this year, UnitedHealthcare announced that, in the case of pegfilgrastim, it would prefer Amgen’s brand-name pegfilgrastim, Neulasta, or Neulasta Onpro, a presentation of the pegfilgrastim product in an on-body injector device. Use of these products have, since July 1, been required before use of Mylan and Biocon’s biosimilar (Fulphila), or Coherus BioSciences’ biosimilar (Udenyca).

UnitedHealthcare also currently prefers other reference products to biosimilars; Brand-name infliximab (Remicade) is preferred over Celltrion and Pfizer’s biosimilar (Inflectra), and Samsung Bioepis and Merck’s biosimilar (Renflexis).

However, a representative from UnitedHealthcare previously told The Center for Biosimilars® in an email that, in October 2019 a change will take effect adding Inflectra to a preferred position along with Remicade. As such, beginning October 1, both Remicade and Inflectra will be preferred options for UnitedHealthcare commercial members.

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