Kashyap Patel, MD: Preparing for Biosimilar Versus Subcutaneous Rituximab

Kashyap Patel, MD, discusses considerations for using biosimilar versus subcutaneous rituximab.


That’s a very interesting question that you asked, because the rituximab biosimilar is very warranted and is here. The originator has come out with a new subcutaneous molecule, which probably is priced less than their own reference product in terms of [intravenous, IV]. So we are evaluating the patient convenience option first, because for the intravenous rituximab, the patient has to be in the office for about 6 to 8 hours, and the originator has another molecule that is subcutaneous, which actually could be given in 15 minutes.

The other part is, because the subcutaneous molecule is a fixed dose, it probably [average sales price, ASP] calculation-wise, may become less expensive to the healthcare system as a whole. So right now we are in a holding pattern to evaluate the time in motion, the characteristics of both molecules, and depending on what is best for the patient, depending on what improves the healthcare-related quality of life, and depending on which molecule is helping address Part B drug prices will help us make a decision. Unless and until we have the biosimilar molecule out, and it’s priced at a very competitive place, we will have to look into all of these aspects before we decide to switch over to the biosimilars.