Most prescribers would pick biosimilar RA drugs

Half of commercial plans wouldn't cover biosimilars by 2015

BURLINGTON, Mass. — A majority of prescribers would prescribe biosimilar versions of two treatments for rheumatoid arthritis within a year of their approval, according to a new study.

Market research firm Decision Resources found that about 80% of current prescribers of Johnson & Johnson's and Merck's Remicade (infliximab) and Rituxan (rituximab), made by Biogen Idec and Roche, would prescribe biosimilar versions, but about half of them said they would prescribe biosimilar versions only if a patient requests it or insurance plans demand it, and most do not plan to prescribe the branded versions to patients who fail treatment with the biosimilars.

At the same time, half of commercial plans that cover the branded drugs will not likely cover biosimilar versions of either drug by 2015, while only one-third of Medicare Part D plans that cover Remicade and Rituxan would exclude biosimilars.

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