Rolf Benirschke: Access to Biologics for IBD

Rolf Benirschke, chief executive officer of Legacy Health Strategies, discusses the challenges patients face in getting access to biologics to treat inflammatory bowel disease.


Patients face a lot of challenges when it comes to getting on therapy, particularly some of the biologics. What we're finding is that, physicians, particularly the sophisticated physicians, a lot of the academic institutions, are able to subjectively figure out which patients will respond to which biologic, but if they go to prescribe that biologic, oftentimes, the insurers will not allow the patient to get on it until they fail another therapy.

So it’s this fail-first therapy before they get access to it. That's frustrating for the patient, and frustrating for the physician. If the physician is pretty good at determining that this patient likely will not do well, in his mind, why does that patient have to fail first?

Also, it’s tough for the patient. They go through a regimen that doesn't work, their disease progresses, gets more entrenched, and then it’s a more difficult disease to face. So that’s one of the big challenges currently.