Physician, Practice and Patient Characteristics Associated with Biosimilar Use in Medicare Recipients

Spending on biologic medicines increased by over 50 percent between 2014 and 2018 and continues to account for an increased share of drug spending in the United States. Because biosimilars are highly similar versions of complex biologic drugs, they have the potential to slow drug spending. In a new cross-sectional study of Medicare recipients, Dr. Amelia Bond, assistant professor of population health sciences at Weill Cornell Medicine, and colleagues examined if patient, physician and practice characteristics were associated with biosimilar usage for the biologics filgrastim and infliximab. The researchers found that patient characteristics were weakly associated with biosimilar uptake and few physician characteristics were associated with biosimilar use. Overall, practice setting and hospital ownership status had the largest associations with use of biosimilars. This demonstrates that practices play a role in determining which medications physicians choose. However, the types of practices with high biosimilar use differed by drug class. More research is needed to understand these differences.


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