Kashyap Patel, MD, Highlights the Struggles of Using Pegfilgrastim Biosimilars During the Pandemic

As COVID-19 cases continue to rise in many states, Kashyap Patel, MD, CEO of Carolina Blood and Cancer Care Associates, provides insight into how biosimilar pegfilgrastims can help reduce costs; however, not all payers are on board.

Increasing the use of biosimilar pegfilgrastims can save patients and practices money as COVID-19 cases continue to surge; however, some payers are still preventing providers from utilizing them, according to Kashyap Patel, MD, CEO of Carolina Blood and Cancer Care Associates.


How is the resurgence of the pandemic in South Carolina affecting your pegfilgrastim prescribing habits?

Patel: We are going to increase use of pegfilgrastim more and more and more. I had a pretty long email chain of a literal argument with one big payer saying that you cannot afford to overlook patient safety at the cost of saving money. And I hate to say this, but a couple of third party pathway companies still have not updated their guidelines, even though NCCN [National Comprehensive Cancer Network], ASCO [American Society for Clinical Oncology], and all the other bodies have recommended that, even for patients who are getting a chemotherapy regimen that carries intermediate risk of neutropenia during the pandemic, they recommend considering use of pegfilgrastim. And, in particular for our area, I think I would look at biosimilar pegfilgrastim, simply because this would be less expensive. But some payers are still giving us a hard time, and what they don't realize is that I'm trying to minimize my workflow interruption and optimize the efficiency. It's just been challenging, but we'll do our best to sustain and see where we go.

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