Drug budget and prescription control measures are implemented regionally in Germany, meaning that the uptake of pharmaceuticals, including biosimilars, can vary by region. We examine regional market dynamics of tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNFα) inhibitor originators and biosimilars in Germany and studied the influence of biosimilar policies on these dynamics. This study is based on: (1) a literature review in which German biosimilar policies are identified, (2) the analysis of dispensing data (2010-2018) for the class of TNFα inhibitors, and (3) ten semi-structured interviews investigating prescribers' and insurers' views on factors potentially influencing biosimilar uptake. The analysis of biosimilar market shares of infliximab and etanercept revealed wide variations across the 17 German Regional Associations of Statutory Health Insurance Accredited Physicians (PA regions). Quantitative analyses indicated that biosimilar market shares for infliximab and etanercept were significantly lower in former East Germany when compared to former West Germany regions. Through qualitative interview analyses, this study showed that the use of infliximab and etanercept biosimilars across Germany is primarily influenced by (1) the regional-level implementation of biosimilar quotas and the presence of monitoring/sanctioning mechanisms to ensure adherence to these quotas, (2) the different insurer-manufacturer discount contracts, and (3) gainsharing arrangements established at the insurer-prescriber level.
Keywords: Germany; TNFα inhibitors; biologics; biosimilars; etanercept; incentives; infliximab; market dynamics; policies; uptake.