Physicians familiar with biosimilars but can’t name one

Most physicians are aware of biosimilars, but ask them to name one and many come up short, according to a survey of 300 specialists and primary care physicians conducted by QuantiaMD, an educational website for physicians.

The survey results, as published in Medical Marketing and Media, show that 78% of the doctors who answered questions about biosimilars were familiar with the term.

Far fewer—just 38%—could name a biosimilar that’s both a candidate for FDA approval and relevant to their patients. Only 33% could name any kind of biosimilar.

Why the ignorance? It’s actually completely understandable. Biosimilars aren’t part of day-to-day medicine yet. The FDA has approved just one biosimilar, filgrastim-sndz (Zarxio), a medication that helps cancer patients fight off infections. The reference product is Amgen’s Neupogen.

QuantiaMD winnowed the original 300 physicians polled into a smaller group of 120 “prescribing specialists”—physicians most likely to prescribe biosimilars.

A relatively small minority (17%) of the prescribing specialists said they were very likely to prescribe biosimilars while a sizable majority (70%) said weren’t sure or were only “somewhat likely” to write a biosimilars script. 

Relatively few—just 12%—of the prescribing specialists are “very confident” that biosimilars are as safe as the reference product.