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Pharmacoepidemiol Drug Saf. 2019 Dec 11. doi: 10.1002/pds.4908. [Epub ahead of print]

Understanding utilization patterns of biologics and biosimilars in the United States to support postmarketing studies of safety and effectiveness.

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Office of Surveillance and Epidemiology, Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, Food and Drug Administration, Silver Spring, MD, USA.
Department of Population Medicine, Harvard Medical School and Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Institute, Boston, MA, USA.



To describe utilization of filgrastim and infliximab, the first two products with biosimilars approved in the United States.


We identified use of filgrastim (reference, tbo-filgrastim, and filgrastim-sndz) and infliximab (reference, infliximab-dyyb, and infliximab-abda) in the Sentinel Distributed Database using Healthcare Common Procedure Coding System (HCPCS) codes and National Drug Codes (NDCs) from January 2015 to August 2018. We calculated the proportion of use by code type and assessed uptake over time. We compared baseline patient characteristics and treatment indications. Among patients with >1 exposure episode, we characterized gaps between episodes.


Use was identified primarily via HCPCS codes (filgrastim: 86.4%-97.7%; infliximab: 87.8%-100%) although some was identified via NDCs (filgrastim: 2.2%-13.5%; infliximab: <0.1%-6.5%). Filgrastim reference product use declined from 89.4% in January 2015 to 30.3% in June 2018, with corresponding increases in filgrastim-sndz (0% to 49.3%) and tbo-filgrastim (10.6% to 20.4%). Infliximab biosimilar uptake was low (9.7% in June 2018). We identified 94 846 filgrastim reference product, 27 143 tbo-filgrastim, and 38 264 filgrastim-sndz users. For infliximab, we identified 125 412 reference product, 1034 infliximab-dyyb, 49 infliximab-abda, and 4855 undetermined biosimilar users. Patients receiving filgrastim products were largely similar, but differences in age, sex, and indication were observed across infliximab product users. The median exposure episode gap ranged from 1 to 3 days for filgrastim and 48 to 50 days for infliximab.


Use of biosimilar filgrastim has increased in the United States, but infliximab biosimilar use remains low. Data on identification of biosimilars in claims data and observed gaps between exposure episodes can be used to support drug safety studies of biosimilars.


biosimilar; filgrastim; infliximab


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