Survey of U.S. Rheumatologists Suggests Acceptance of Biosimilars for Treatment of New Patients, but Reluctance to Switch Patients from Reference Products

The results of a survey of board-certified rheumatologists in the United States about their beliefs and knowledge regarding biosimilar products were recently published in the journal Rheumatology.

The online survey was conducted in May 2019 and included 19 multiple-choice questions assessing respondents’ knowledge of concepts and terminology concerning biosimilars, availability of biosimilars for treatment of rheumatological diseases (including infliximab, adalimumab, etanercept, and rituximab), and attitudes toward use of biosimilars to treat patients.  According to the survey results, 73% of rheumatologists said they were likely to use a biosimilar product to treat a patient with rheumatoid arthritis who had not previously been treated with a biologic, while only 35% said they were likely to switch a patient doing well on a reference product to a biosimilar.  The authors concluded that the “survey suggests that US rheumatologists have a good understanding and acceptance of biosimilar products, particularly for the initiation of treatment in biologic-naïve individuals,” but “[a]dditional education on biosimilars is required to help inform treatment decisions by rheumatologists.”