Biosimilars Create Significant Saving for Providers, Payors, and Patients

Drug Topics JournalDrug Topics January 2023
Volume 167
Issue 01

Biosimilars have the potential to create immense savings.

Use of institution-preferred biosimilar products increased across all agents after implementation of a regional clinical pharmacist-driven biosimilar substitution program, one study found.1

As ofJune 2022, 36 biosimilars have been approved in the United States, 20 of which areused for treatment and supportive care of cancer patients. Providers, payors, and patients can all benefit from using cost-effective biosimilars.

In a poster presented at the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists 2022 Midyear Clinical Meeting and Exhibition,researchers presented the results of apharmacist-driven biosimilar substitution program where regional clinical pharmacists would act like a liaison between financial teams and providers to evaluate existing drug orders and their financial impacts in October 2021. Researchers were from a network of community oncology practices with 107 physicians and 85 advanced practitioners across 16 states.

The study evaluated their institution-preferred biosimilar product uptake and cost-savings data from April 1, 2021, to April 1, 2022. The five biosimilars products assessed in this study were bevacizumab, trastuzumab, rituximab, pegfilgrastim, and filgrastim. Researchers also assessed biosimilar utilization and uptake and financial impacts to payors, patients, and providers.

For 4 of the 5 products evaluated, more than 60% of institution-preferred biosimilars were used. By the end of the study, preferred product utilization was achieved for over 90% of bevacizumab, trastuzumab, rituximab, and filgrastim orders. Preferred pegfilgrastim use increased from less than 20% to over 60% during the study period.

Regional clinical pharmacists identified 1,069 opportunities for biosimilar switching between November 1, 2021, to April 30, 2022. Switching to a biosimilar occurred in 26% of these cases and payor preference prevented biosimilar switching 34% of the time.

It was estimated that payors saved approximately $29 million over the 6-month period prior to the implementation of the biosimilar substitution program and $47 million after the implementation. Patient savings were about $9,500 before and $30,000 after the program implementation. Provider savings were estimated to be $44 million before and $90 million after the program was implemented.

“Use of institution-preferred biosimilar products increased across all agents in this study after implementation of the RCP-driven biosimilar substitution program. Use of non-preferred pegfilgrastim products—driven by use of novel administration devices (i.e., on-body injectors)—remains high due to patient and provider preference for this delivery system, particularly in clinics serving a rural patient population,” the researchers wrote. 

“Significant cost savings were noted for providers, payors, and patients. Barriers to switching to institution-preferred products included non-medical switching requirements by payors, patient assistance and compassionate use programs, and patient and/or provider preferences,” they concluded.


1. Li J, Peters B, Winegar B, Carr R, Chang M. Biosimilar uptake and cost savings analysis before or after implementation of pharmacist-driven substitution program within a national community oncology network. Presented at: American Society of Health-System Pharmacists2022 Midyear Clinical Meeting and Exhibition; December 4-8, 2022, Las Vegas, Nevada. Poster 4-044.

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