Decision Resources: Only half of payers support biosimilar substitution

WALTHAM, Mass. Biosimilars may have cleared their biggest stretch of wilderness thanks to their inclusion in the healthcare-reform bill, but they may run into another speedbump: payers.

Though nearly half of U.S. payers support substitution of biosimilars for innovator biotech drugs, most believe some clinical differences exist between the follow-on drugs and the originals, according to a survey by market research firm Decision Resources.

The survey found that 48% thought it was a “good idea” to substitute biosimilars for the originals. Most respondents considered biosimilars similar to the originals, though not identical, and thought they could have significant differences. At the same time, 69% said they were moderately to very familiar with biosimilars, while 17% said they had a slight familiarity.

“The high levels of reported familiarity may be because while media coverage of biosimilars is increasing, payers may feel less familiar with overall biosimilars regulation because of the recent myriad of legislative developments in the United States around healthcare reform,” Decision Resources product director Michael Malecki said.