Medical and Clinical Research: Open Access

Open Access


A Qualitative Study of Medical Oncologists’ Knowledge and Views of Biosimilars in the United States

Karen Kaiser, Katherina Hauner, Sara Shaunfield, George J. Greene, Madison Lyleroehr, John Devin Peipert, Sheetal Kircher, David Cella, Mary Golf, Daniel K. Mroczek.

Background: As the cost of cancer care continues to rise, biosimilars provide an important cost-saving treatment option. Thus, understanding barriers to biosimilar uptake, including perceptions of biosimilars among oncologists, is critical. We interviewed medical oncologists to examine their knowledge, attitudes, and perceptions of biosimilars.

Methods: A snowball method was used to identify and recruit oncologists in 2019-2020. Following informed consent, a trained study interviewer conducted the semi-structured telephone interview covering the following topics: 1) knowledge of biosimilars; 2) views of the efficacy of biosimilars; and 3) perceptions of the future of biosimilars in oncology, including barriers to their use.

Results: Interviews were conducted with oncologists (n=8) from four academic cancer centers. Median years of experience treating cancer patients was 7.5 (range = 4.5 to 10 years) and median number of cancer patients treated with biosimilars each month was 1 (range = 0 to 60 patients). Knowledge of biosimilars varied, although oncologists tended to lack knowledge of how biosimilar efficacy is established and expressed concerns about the lack of long-term data to support efficacy. Although these oncologists believed that biosimilars will become widely used, they noted that the lack of both long-term efficacy data and biosimilar knowledge are barriers to adoption.

Conclusions: This study provides evidence for the need for biosimilar education for oncologists, particularly around biosimilar efficacy. Oncologists were cautiously optimistic that biosimilar use would lead to a reduction in healthcare costs. These findings will inform a national survey of oncologists’ knowledge and views of biosimilars.

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