Sonia T. Oskouei, PharmD: The Launch of Biosimilar Rituximab and Its Impact on Cancer Care


Sonia T. Oskouei, PharmD, vice president of innovation and solution development at Premier Inc, discusses the launch of the first rituximab biosimilar in the United States.


Yeah, it's a good question. So the rituximab biosimilar is very exciting, to be launched, the first one is just launched. And I think it's going to have a significant impact in oncology care. But I'm not sure it's going to be immediate.

Part of that is really the 10% pricing strategy that they came out with. I think it's safe to say that most providers and health system perspectives are hoping and anticipating at least a 15% to 30% discount based off of the originator biologic, which is what we've seen pretty consistently with other biosimilars.

So the 10% is hard to gauge because what you have to think about from a health system perspective is there is a significant cost of change. So for any new therapeutic, when you evaluate a drug for a [pharmacy and therapeutics, P and T] committee, and it becomes approved, there's a whole downstream effect of how to make it implemented within the health system.

So that includes IT updates to order sets, procurement and storage considerations, administration considerations, and then of course, the finance piece of doing prior authorizations and making sure the products are covered. So there's a whole downstream effect that becomes the cost of change that needs to be considered.

I don't think the 10% is going to be received with excitement from the provider lens, but I think it's going be interesting to see when additional competitors come to the market in this space, what that impact will be.

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