STAT Plus: Biosimilars got the cold shoulder from health plans when it came to preferred coverage

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As debate rages over adoption of biosimilars in the U.S., a new analysis finds that 17 of the largest commercial health plans last year rarely preferred these versions of brand-name biologics when crafting coverage decisions.

Specifically, the insurers made 535 coverage decisions last year for nine biosimilars that were available in the U.S. But the health plans required patients first try a biosimilar before gaining access to a brand-name biologic just 14% of the time. By contrast, brand-name medicines were favored in 33% of the coverage decisions, while preferred coverage was offered for both medicines 53% of the time.

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