Surya Singh, MD discusses how education efforts have reduced providers’ doubts surrounding the similarity between biosimilars and their reference products at the March 2020 FDA/Federal Trade Commission workshop on anticompetitive practices.
Surya Singh, MD, is the president of Singh Healthcare Advisors.
Have education efforts reduced provider doubt regarding the similarity of biosimilars and their reference products?
I think that the educational component of biosimilar uptake had a slow start 5 years ago, but has really accelerated now [that we’ve] gotten over what I'll refer to as the educational threshold for providers. So, if the question is, "Is there still lingering doubt in the minds of providers on whether or not a biosimilar is sufficiently comparable to the reference product in order for them to safely prescribe it and have their patient use it?" the answer to that is I don't think there's lingering doubt. I think most of the doubt that was present in the earlier days following the first biosimilar approvals has really been taken care of or eliminated based on the educational efforts that were undertaken by a number of different groups, but also by experience. So, they've gained experience with biosimilar products and realized what a lot of people were saying at the outset: The batch-to-batch variability between the reference product being produced in the same facility was as great as it is between a biosimilar product and the reference product. I think experience has helped a lot of clinicians who had some doubt at the outset get over that doubt. So, I would contend that if there is any lingering doubt that is impeding biosimilar uptake, it pales in comparison to some of the economic considerations that are at play in the market.