Medical oncologists in the United States may have a limited understanding of what biosimilars are and how they can be used, according to a survey published in JCO Oncology Practice.

Though most oncologists surveyed reported using biosimilars in practice, some lacked basic knowledge about biosimilars and reported having limited access to educational information on them.

For this study, researchers surveyed 269 medical oncologists. The survey was designed to assess knowledge of, attitudes about, and experience with biosimilars.


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Most respondents said biosimilars were required at their institution (63%) and they had personally treated patients with biosimilars (88%). The most commonly used biosimilars were Zarxio (filgrastim-sndz), Udenyca (pegfilgrastim-cbqv), Mvasi (bevacizumab-awwb), Fulphila (pegfilgrastim-jmdb), and Kanjinti (trastuzumab-anns).

Despite using biosimilars in practice, some oncologists misunderstood what biosimilars are and how they can be used. About half of respondents (52%) knew that biosimilars are not the same as generic medicines, 66% knew that biosimilars do not necessarily have the same chemical structure and manufacturing process as the reference product, and 51% knew that interchangeable products can be dispensed without consulting the prescriber. 

Overall, 40% of respondents said their institution provided education about biosimilars. The same percentage of respondents said university hospitals (39%) and community/ private hospitals (39%) provided education about biosimilars. Slightly more respondents reported access to biosimilar education in private practice (47%).

“In this sample of medical oncologists, knowledge about basic features of biosimilars was limited and access to information about biosimilars was insufficient,” the researchers concluded. “The present study determined that educational programs on biosimilars for oncologists are needed and identified priorities for such efforts.”

Disclosures: This research was supported by a grant from Pfizer. Some study authors declared affiliations with biotech, pharmaceutical, and/or device companies. Please see the original reference for a full list of disclosures.

Reference

Peipert JD, Kaiser K, Kircher S, et al. Medical oncologists’ knowledge and perspectives on the use of biosimilars in the United States. JCO Onc Prac. Published online January 9, 2023. doi:10.1200/OP.22.00502

This article originally appeared on Cancer Therapy Advisor