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Survey: Doctors embrace biosimilars, but with caution


BOSTON — A new survey from InCrowd is finding physicians more open to prescribing their patients biosimilars in the coming years, but they are also more cautious than they were six months ago about allowing pharmacy-level substitution. 


The survey, conducted in September, found that 84% of surveyed physicians in dermatology, endocrinology, gastroenterology, oncology and rheumatology said they expect to prescribe, will prescribe or look forward to prescribing more biosimilars in the coming three years. And though this number is an increase over the 80% of surveyed physicians who said the same thing in February, those surveyed also approach biosimilar substitution with caution. 


Only 17% of physicians surveyed in September said they wouldn’t prohibit substitutions of biosimilars for the original biologic on their prescriptions — which is down from the 28% who said the same thing in February. And given the choice about 35% of physicians surveyed would prescribe the original biologic first and foremost. But savings are appealing to them, with 59% saying they’d prescribe a biosimilar at a 15% savings and 77% saying they’d choose a biosimilar at a 25% discount.


"Data reflect that during this time when biosimilars are of strong interest to insurers and health care systems for cost control, physicians are not rushing to issue a blank check for their substitution, and are keenly aware of their need to thoughtfully consider any such use," InCrowd president and co-founder Diane Hayes said. 


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