Given that a new wave of biosimilar insulins will likely enter the market in coming years, it is important to understand patient perspectives on these biosimilars. A survey (N = 3214) conducted by the market research company dQ&A, which maintains a 10 000-patient panel of people with type 1 or type 2 diabetes in roughly equal measure, investigated these perspectives. The survey asked whether patients would switch to a hypothetical less expensive biosimilar insulin that was approved by their provider. Approximately 66% of respondents reported that they would "definitely" or "likely" use a biosimilar insulin, while 17% reported that they were "unlikely" to use or would "definitely not use" such a product. Type 2 diabetes patients demonstrated slightly more willingness to use biosimilars than type 1 diabetes patients. Common patient concerns included whether biosimilars would be as effective as reference products (~650 respondents), whether side effect profiles would deviate from those of reference products (~220 respondents), and the design of the delivery device (~50 respondents). While cost savings associated with biosimilar insulins could increase patient uptake, especially among patients without health insurance (some recent estimates suggest that biosimilars will come at a substantial discount), patients may still need assurance that a cheaper price tag is not necessarily associated with substandard quality. Overall, the dQ&A survey indicates that the majority of patients are willing to consider biosimilar insulins, but manufacturers will need to work proactively to address and assuage patient concerns regarding efficacy, safety, drug administration, and other factors.
Keywords: biosimilar insulin; costs; diabetes; insulin formulations; insulin therapy.
© 2014 Diabetes Technology Society.