Will docs jump on new biosims? Survey shows they'll need some nudging

Drugmakers are well aware of the biosimilars threatening to steal sales and market share from some of the world's best-selling biologics.

Doctors, though? Not so much, a new report suggests.

Doctor platform and community QuantiaMD recently surveyed 300 primary care physicians and specialists to find out just how much healthcare providers knew about the drugs. 78% of those polled said they were familiar with the term "biosimilar," but only 38% could name one under consideration for FDA approval that would be relevant to their patients, Medical Marketing & Media report.

To make matters worse, only 17% of the doctors Quantia deemed most likely to prescribe biologics--and, thus, the most likely to prescribe biosimilars in the future--said they were "very likely" to do so. 70% said they either weren't sure or were "somewhat likely" to write a biosimilar script.

That's a problem for the copycat pharmas looking to steal a piece of the pie from blockbusters like Amgen's ($AMGN) Neupogen, AbbVie's ($ABBV) Humira and Johnson & Johnson's ($JNJ) Remicade. Whether biosimilars pick up steam will largely depend on doctors--and on their likelihood to order them for patients.

Right now, only one biosimilar has FDA approval, and that's Zarxio, a Novartis ($NVS) copy of Neupogen that won't roll out until September, per court orders.

In the meantime, though, what can drugmakers do to get the word out to docs? "There's a lot of opportunity for education," Rachel Daricek, QuantiaMD's senior director of client services, told MM&M. " … They haven't seen any efficacy and safety data or seen any communication from pharma or their organization--they don't know what to think."

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