Most big commercial health plans rarely prefer biosimilars

Ten of the 17 largest commercial health plans in the U.S. chose not to offer preferred coverage for less-expensive biosimilar drugs last year, according to an analysis cited by STAT

The study, published May 19 in JAMA, found that the country's largest commercial health plans rarely offer preferred coverage to biosimilars, which are drugs that are nearly identical versions of biologic drugs but are less expensive. 

The 17 plans cited in the study represent 60 percent of Americans with commercial health plans, STAT reported. 

Health plans required patients to try the less-expensive versions of drugs before getting access to biologic drugs just 14 percent of the time, according to STAT

Only two of the largest plans made biosimilars a preferred choice half the time or more. 

The study highlights the struggle biosimilar drugmakers have faced when trying to gain access to insurance coverage, according to STAT

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