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A look at the history of biosimilar adoption: characteristics of early and late adopters of infliximab and etanercept biosimilars in subregions of England, Scotland and Wales ‑ a mixed methods study

Author/s Moorkens E, Vulto AG, Kent J, McClure L, Boldero R, Vanhove T, Simoens S, Huys I
Year 2021
Type of publication Journal article

Background Regions within England, Scotland and Wales show variation in rate of adoption of biosimilar infliximab and etanercept.

Objectives This study aims to examine how local decisions and practices in regions within England, Scotland and Wales might explain initial variation in market dynamics of biosimilar and originator infliximab and etanercept.

Methods Market data provided by the National Health Service (NHS) on biosimilar and originator infliximab and etanercept uptake were analysed for the 10 historical regions of England, 14 health boards in Scotland and 7 health boards in Wales (2015–2018). Findings were discussed in ten semi-structured interviews: on a national level with an industry representative (1), on a regional level with NHS employees in England (6), Scotland (1) and Wales (1), and on a local level with a representative of a clinical commissioning group in England (1).

Results Tenders for infliximab and etanercept in England, Scotland and Wales have consistently resulted in a biosimilar as the best value biological. Early and late biosimilar adopters are seen, with overall convergence towards high biosimilar market shares over time. Qualitative results suggest that biosimilar adoption was positively influenced by (a) a price difference between biosimilar and originator product making it worthwhile to switch patients; (b) a good relationship between commissioner and provider in England resulting in gain share agreements; (c) leadership on biosimilars in regional NHS offices in England or Scottish and Welsh health boards; (d) key opinion leaders or leading hospitals that start using biosimilars early and gain experience.

Conclusions This study has shown that the savings potential drives biosimilar use. Regions with a proactive attitude, good stakeholder relationships, and clinician engagement were identified as early adopters.


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