How comfortable are physicians with biosimilars? Not very (yet)

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Alexander Gaffney Senior Manager, Health Research Institute, PwC US October 24, 2018

Significant hurdles remain to biosimilars being commercialized beyond just regulatory approvals, including prescribers, who remain relatively unfamiliar with these still-new products, according to research by PwC’s Health Research Institute (HRI).

Prescriber challenges:

Clinicians surveyed by HRI in 2018 said they were wary of prescribing biosimilars.

HRI also found:

  • Fifty-five percent of clinicians surveyed by HRI said they were unfamiliar with biosimilars; 35 percent said they had never prescribed them.
  • Sixty-five percent of clinicians surveyed by HRI said they would be more willing to prescribe biosimilars if there was a meaningful cost difference for their patients; 42 percent said they would if they had a higher degree of confidence in the safety. Forty-one percent said they would be more likely to prescribe if they had a high degree of confidence in its efficacy.
  • A lack of familiarity with biosimilars also reduced the likelihood of prescribing, as did a lack of personal comfort and patient comfort. 
What will prompt doctors to prescribe more biosimilars?
Doctors on prescribing biosimilars

Early days for biosimilars

The biosimilars market is similar in some ways to the early generics market, requiring greater knowledge and familiarity to help increase prescribing while regulatory and legal issues are ongoing.

Biosimilars companies should consider investing in physician and patient education and detailing to accelerate biosimilar uptake. Few physicians and even fewer patients know what biosimilars are. Eighty-three percent of consumers were unable to correctly define what a biosimilar was in a 2016 HRI survey, which can lead to some doctors to avoid prescribing them due to lack of patient comfort.

For some biosimilar manufacturers, hiring detailers may help increase physician knowledge and prescribing. However, that will add costs for biosimilar manufacturers, which are already spending an estimated $100 million to $250 million per biosimilar approval, according to the FDA.

Further reading

To get more information about the impact of biosimilars, download PwC's full report, Is new generic competition enough to lower drug costs?

Contact us

Alexander Gaffney

Senior Manager, Health Research Institute, PwC US

Tel: +1 (202) 836 1604

Trine K. Tsouderos

HRI Regulatory Center Leader, PwC US

Tel: +1 (312) 241 3824

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