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Cardinal Health Reports Increased Confidence in Biosimilars Among Rheumatologists

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A report from Cardinal Health tells that rheumatologists are more familiar and confident in biosimilars compared with 2020, showing that education efforts are effective and that rheumatologists are more willing to prescribe biosimilars to their patients.

Rheumatologists’ familiarity and confidence in biosimilars increased by about 20% between 2020 and 2022, suggesting that provider-targeted education efforts are effective and that rheumatologists are gaining real world experience with them, according to Cardinal Health’s Rheumatology Insights report.

The report was based on research from Cardinal Health’s web-based surveys conducted from July to August 2022 that included over 100 rheumatologists from community- and hospital-based practices across the United States.

“The promise of biosimilars rests on the twin pillars of affordability and accessibility…. However, this is only possible with the right health care delivery model and aligned incentives to ensure the value of these products are maximized. With so many biosimilars for HUMIRA (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,” said Sonia Oskouei, PharmD, BCMS, DPLA, vice president of biosimilars at Cardinal Health, in a statement about the report.

In 2022, 76% of the surveyed rheumatologists reported being very familiar with biosimilars compared with 53% in 2020. Similarly, 62% of rheumatologists in 2022 said that they felt very comfortable prescribing a biosimilar to their patients vs 41% in 2020.

Regarding perception around biosimilars, 64% of respondents expressed that they feel that biosimilars positively impact rheumatology care and 47% said that they are excited about the growing number of biosimilars coming to the rheumatology space. Additionally, 85% said that patient education on biosimilars is important, and 96% said that they feel at least somewhat comfortable discussing biosimilar options with patients.

Interestingly, as the United States prepares for the market introduction of adalimumab biosimilars, 85% of respondents indicated they are at least somewhat comfortable with prescribing an adalimumab biosimilar once they become available.

Respondents reported that patient out-of-pocket cost is the key decision criteria for utilizing an adalimumab biosimilar, followed by clinical and/or real-world evidence studies and pharmacy benefit managers/payer coverage.

Opinions on whether the economics of biosimilars are favorable enough to motivate doctors to switch patients from an originator to a biosimilar have also shifted. The amount of respondents who disagreed with the statement “Today, the economics of biosimilars are not favorable enough to motivate me to switch from the reference product,” grew from 6% in 2020 to 15% in 2022. However, 54% still answered “agree” or “strongly agree.”

Confidence around the use of janus kinase (JAK) inhibitors wavered a bit in light of the FDA placing black box warnings on these products. Prior to the FDA warnings, 78% of respondents were prescribing them “often” or “very often.” After the warnings, 14% said that they would be “very likely” to prescribe a JAK inhibitor and 58% said “likely.”

Finally, supply chain disruptions was noted as a big concern for rheumatologists, with 85% saying that disruptions have had an impact on their treatment decisions and they have had to adapt to several strategies to handle them. Overall, 60% reported having to make medication substitutions, 43% said that they switched patients to a different mediation, and 16% reported delaying a patient’s therapy.

Reference

Rheumatology insights: October 2022. Cardinal Health. October 19, 2022. Accessed October 20, 2022. https://www.cardinalhealth.com/en/cmp/ext/phr/specialty-pharma/rheumatology-insights.html

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