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Biosimilars were initially projected to save as much as $150B in the specialty pharmaceuticals market. However, product launches have not kept pace with approvals, and numerous barriers to entry have become apparent. Some examples include financial disincentives for providers to administer biosimilars over originator products; lack of provider understanding of the efficacy, safety, and interchangeability of biosimilars; and finally, anticompetitive strategies employed by manufacturers to subvert biosimilar access. This combination of challenges makes launching a biosimilar product difficult.

This brief highlights several proposed solutions for improving biosimilar market access and provides subjective ratings of each solution’s effectiveness, political feasibility, and cost of implementation. Additionally, this brief discusses strategies for increasing provider reimbursement for biosimilars, expanding provider and patient understanding of biosimilars through educational initiatives, and regulating anticompetitive rebate practices by originator product manufacturers.

While educating providers and patients with a government sponsored website and continuing education series emerged as the most well-rounded policy proposal, biosimilar access is a multifactorial problem. Future progress will require targeted solutions for each identified barrier. In the meantime, improving educational resources is a strong first step that most stakeholders would support.