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Uptake drivers not performing

Posted 12 August 2019

More biosimilars are flooding the market but latest PBS data shows the copies still look forward to a challenging uptake environment. 

The newest data for the last quarter of etanercept uptake show there is still a vast gap between scripts for originator Pfizer's Enbrel and MSD's biosimilar Brenzys

Uptake drivers implemented in December last year separated Enbrel and Brenzys prescriptions in the subsequent continuing phase of treatment in four adult indications, with Brenzys gaining streamlined authority in that phase instead of written authority. 

The data for the latest quarter shows improvements in uptake of Brenzys but still at a slow pace. The drug now forms 15 per cent of total scripts in the treatment setting targeted by the uptake drivers, or around 2,700 scripts. 

This leaves the largest portion of the pie to Enbrel, whose scripts in that setting still hover around the 15,500 mark.  

Due to changes again made to prescribing authority in June 2019 allowing Brenzys to be accessed either through written or streamlined authority, some of the Enbrel data from the last quarter may include some prescriptions for Brenzys in the month of June. 

But even taking that into account, the figures are not enough to show any massive swing towards uptake of Brenzys compared to the original. 

Infliximab not any better

Meanwhile scripts over the first half of 2019 for infliximab show the gap between originator Janssen's Remicade and biosimilars Renflexis and Inflectra is similarly large. 

Uptake drivers for the biosimilars were also put in place for the subsequent continuing phase of treatment, separating the two biosimilars from Remicade using a combination of streamlined and telephone authority, depending on indication. 

Unlike uptake drivers for etanercept, these were implemented stepwise with a different indication targeted each month between July 2018 and January of this year. 

But Pharma in Focus' analysis of scripts for the drug made in the first six months of 2019 show in general the biosimilars are getting around 13 per cent of scripts within those settings with uptake drivers. 

Some indications are proving better for the copies than others, with biosimilars capturing 24 per cent of scripts in paediatric Crohn's and ulcerative colitis. 

Those indications with uptake drivers implemented from November 2018 have extremely low percentage of biosimilar uptake, potentially because these were more recent and have not yet made an impact. 

Yajun Ma

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