Authors: Fatma Gül Demirkan, Hafize Emine Sönmez, Lovro Lamot, Özlem Akgün, Betül Sözeri & Nuray Aktay Ayaz For the PeRA-Research Group
Biosimilars have been adopted by clinicians more slowly than anticipated in the post-marketing phase.
We aimed to reveal the perceptions and attitudes of pediatric rheumatologists towards biosimilars and the obstacles to biosimilar therapy.
A web-based survey designed to determine the knowledge, experience, and perceptions of pediatric rheumatologists about biosimilars was electronically mailed to the participants between April and August 2021. Responses were collected anonymously and subsequently analyzed.
A total of 114 pediatric rheumatologists including fellows (32.4%), specialists (29.8%), and seniors (37.7%) responded to the questionnaire. According to the data, 75 (65.8%) physicians had already prescribed at least one biosimilar. The vast majority of participants were aware of the potential cost savings of biosimilars (84, 73.3%). Participants who felt insufficiently informed were 41.8%, 67.6%, and 83.7% among seniors, specialists, and fellows, respectively. In pediatric rheumatology, the scarcity of clinical trials and real-life data (64%) and inadequate information about tolerance to the biosimilars and related side effects in children (49.1%) were the most common barriers expressed by prescribers. Nearly half (45%) of the pediatric rheumatologists preferred to prescribe biosimilars in the treatment of biologic-naive cases. However, most (93%) were reluctant to switch a reference molecule to a biosimilar while the patient was doing well under the originator medicine.
This survey provided insights into the concerns about prescribing biosimilars among pediatric rheumatologists. In the field of pediatric rheumatology, further education about biosimilars and real-life experiences is required to better inform about treatment options in children.
Pediatric rheumatologists understand and embrace biosimilars insufficiently.
Pediatric rheumatologists are hesitant to switch patients while under a reference biologic treatment to a biosimilar.
The major concerns regarding biosimilar prescription among pediatric rheumatologists are lack of available real-life data and insufficient information about the tolerance and adverse events in pediatric patients.