Vizient, Inc. announced the results of its 2022 biosimilar survey, which demonstrate significant biosimilar adoption to hospital formularies, but lagging utilization in patient care.
The survey of hospital leaders and pharmacy professionals from Vizient member hospitals across the country found that biosimilars are gaining inclusion in hospital formularies, something long seen as a necessity for greater adoption. The majority of respondents (80%) said they have instituted a system-wide review process for biosimilar adoption to their formularies, while the drivers of adoption were shown to be different:
· 30% of respondents said they adopted biosimilars under provider or payer demand.
· 25%, when approved by the organization’s pharmaceutical and therapeutics committee.
· 22%, once they are FDA-approved, and 20% reported no procedure at all.
According to respondents, the longer a biosimilar has been available, the more likely the product is to be added to an organization’s formulary, but the length of time did not necessarily translate into higher utilization. For example, 88% of respondents said they have adopted a biosimilar for infliximab (Remicade), used in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis and inflammatory bowel conditions, and 85% said they are utilizing it to some degree. However, Vizient and national purchase information reveals that the originator product retains a larger market share relative to the competing infliximab biosimilar.
“Vizient has long urged the adoption of biosimilars to our member healthcare organizations to compete with their branded biologic counterparts as they are just as safe and effective,” said Steven Lucio, senior principal, pharmacy solutions, for Vizient. “The introduction of additional biosimilars signals a real savings opportunity for healthcare organizations and their patients.”
Respondents reported that the primary circumstances that drive biosimilar utilization were new treatment starts (65%) and payer coverage for individual patients (59%). However, nearly half of respondents (48%) said they eventually convert patients over time, such as in the start of the next treatment cycle.
Reimbursement remains the biggest barrier
While biosimilars have largely gained clinical acceptability, the alignment between provider selection and payer coverage remains a challenge. Respondents reported payer demands for specific products as the top barrier to automatic therapeutic substitution, followed by provider acceptance, and management of the prior authorization process. In relation to preparation for Humira® (adalimumab) biosimilars, which will enter the market in 2023, respondents identified payer placement, acquisition price, and interchangeability status as the top three attributes that will govern product selection and inclusion in a hospital’s formulary.
The survey of pharmacy professionals and executives was conducted between March 30 and April 28, 2022 and collected 124 responses. Highlights from the survey report can be accessed online here.