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Patient attitudes about non-medical switching to biosimilars: results from an online patient survey in the United States

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Teeple A1, Ginsburg S2, Howard L3, Huff L4, Reynolds C4, Walls D5, Ellis LA1, Curtis JR6. Curr Med Res Opin. 2019 Jan 8:1-7. doi: 10.1080/03007995.2018.1560221. [Epub ahead of print]


Author information 1 a Janssen Scientific Affairs, LLC , Horsham , PA , USA. 2 b Global Health Living Foundation , Upper Nyack , NY , USA. 3 c National Psoriasis Foundation , Alexandria , VA , USA. 4 d Benfield, a Division of Gallagher Benefit Services, Inc. , Webster Groves , MO , USA. 5 e BDJ Solutions, LLC ; Melrose , MA , USA. 6 f University of Alabama at Birmingham , Birmingham , AL , USA.


OBJECTIVE: To evaluate patient attitudes regarding non-medical switching (NMS) to biosimilars among patients with autoimmune disease currently receiving a biologic.

METHODS: An online survey was conducted among patients meeting the following criteria: ā‰„18 years of age; residing in the US; diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis; currently taking a biologic; and consenting to participate. Patients answered questions about their attitudes and experiences related to NMS. Descriptive statistics were used to summarize responses.

RESULTS: A total of 1696 patients completed the 20-min survey. Eighty-five per cent of patients were concerned that biosimilars wouldn't treat their disease as well; 85% didn't want to switch to a biosimilar if their current biologic was helping their disease; and 83% were concerned that switching may cause more side-effects. Twenty per cent of patients had previously received notification about a potential NMS to another biologic (that was not a biosimilar) from their insurance company. Of these, 79% took at least one action to avoid the NMS and 45% ultimately switched. Of these patients (nā€‰=ā€‰150), 67% indicated that their previous biologic worked well for them and 70% didn't want to switch to another biologic. Most patients who switched (67%) did so to avoid paying a higher cost. More than half (56%) went without therapy for administrative reasons during the period of transition from the old biologic to the other treatment.

CONCLUSIONS: Patients reported multiple concerns about NMS that might impact treatment outcomes, and many of the patients who non-medically switched in this survey missed treatments. Future studies should be conducted on patient expectations and experiences with NMS to understand the impact on healthcare delivery, treatment persistency, and patient outcomes. The patient perspective and experience should be considered by decision-makers when developing coverage policies for biosimilar medications and associated communication strategies.