Although rheumatologists, dermatologists, and gastroenterologists rated their awareness of adalimumab biosimilars as high, a significant proportion of each group reported that they were not confident prescribing a biosimilar over the originator.
Although rheumatologists, dermatologists, and gastroenterologists rated their awareness of adalimumab biosimilars as high, a significant proportion of each group reported that they were not confident prescribing a biosimilar over the originator (Humira), according to data from Spherix Global Insights, a healthcare data consultancy.
Spherix conducted a survey of rheumatologists, gastroenterologists, and dermatologists to gauge their level of knowledge on adalimumab biosimilars in light of the first adalimumab biosimilar, Amgen’s Amjevita, launching on the US market at the end of January 2023. Nine more, including 2 that still have applications under review with the FDA, are expected to follow in July 2023.
For rheumatologists (n = 78), the survey was conducted from February 24 to March 9, 2023. The survey for gastroenterologists (n = 76) lasted from February 24 to March 11, 2023. There were 80 dermatologists surveyed, and their survey was conducted from February 24 to March 10, 2023.
When asked to rate their comfort prescribing an adalimumab biosimilar over Humira, only 5% of dermatologists, 24% of gastroenterologists, and 12% of rheumatologists said that they felt significantly confident. A majority of providers in each group rated their comfort as neutral or “Significantly less confident prescribing adalimumab biosimilars vs Humira.”
Education is often cited as the best way to increase physician confidence in biosimilars, which is why the FDA has created physician-targeted education material and patient-focused education material (in English and Spanish). The FDA has also developed a biosimilar curriculum and offers free continuing education courses on biosimilars.
Despite comfort being lower than expected, providers expressed that they would be likely to prescribe a biosimilar. Overall, 68% of rheumatologists, 72% of gastroenterologists, and 54% of dermatologists said that they would be somewhat or extremely likely to prescribe a biosimilar over Humira, citing that payer preference tiers will be a major factor influencing whether providers prescribe a biosimilar.
Adalimumab products are used to treat a number of chronic conditions, including:
For most of the decade, AbbVie’s Humira (adalimumab) has been one of the most profitable drugs in the world, accumulating $20.7 billion in sales in 2021. In 2018, Humira ranked second on a list of the 25 top-selling drugs of all time, second only to the Lipitor (atorvastatin).
Most of the surveyed providers said they were comfortable with adalimumab biosimilars having extrapolated indications (gastroenterologists, 89%; rheumatologists, 89%; dermatologists, 83%) and interchangeability designations (gastroenterologists, 91%; rheumatologists, 85%; dermatologists, 83%).
Interchangeability is a regulatory designation unique to the United States. A biosimilar with an interchangeable label can be distributed at the pharmacy level instead of the reference product without requiring the pharmacist to get permission from a physician. Interchangeability allows for patients to have easier access to biosimilars by shortening the time that it takes for pharmacists to get approval to supply biosimilars to patients.