On October 1, 2019, Ha Kung Wong was quoted in MedCity News regarding the adoption of biosimilars in the United States and why it has lagged in comparison to Europe. According to the article, since Congress created a pathway for biosimilars in 2010, the Food and Drug Administration has approved 23 of the drugs for treating autoimmune diseases, cancers, and side effects of chemotherapy, but only a few have actually hit the market. Nor has those drugs' presence on the market brought down the cost of biologics.
A study published in the American Journal of Managed Care about gaps in oncologists' use of biosimilars pointed out that while global sales of biosimilars are expected to reach $19 billion by 2023, physicians have appeared wary of prescribing the drugs, with more than half reporting unfamiliarity with them and more than one-third saying they never prescribed them.
Wong agreed that education of physicians and pharmacists remains a significant barrier. Doctors in particular may be swayed to switch from a product they know well to biosimilars if those show better efficacy or fewer side effects. But simply showing a cheaper product without offering improvements in safety or efficacy could end up being a tough sell, especially if the lower wholesale acquisition cost doesn't translate into lower costs overall.