, Volume 30, Issue 6, pp 585–592 | Cite as

Rheumatologists’ Perceptions of Biosimilar Medicines Prescription: Findings from a French Web-Based Survey

  • Morgane BeckEmail author
  • Bruno Michel
  • Marie-Christine Rybarczyk-Vigouret
  • Dominique Levêque
  • Christelle Sordet
  • Jean Sibilia
  • Michel Velten
  • On behalf of the CRI (Club “Rhumatismes et Inflammations”)
Original Research Article



Healthcare cost savings are closely linked to prescribers’ confidence in and acceptance of the prescription of biosimilar drugs.


The aim of this study was to assess the knowledge, experience and opinions of hospital-based and office-based French rheumatologists with regard to biosimilar medicines and to identify the barriers to and possible options to promote their prescription.


A web-based, self-administered survey was conducted among French rheumatologists from June 8 to August 2, 2015.


A total of 116 rheumatologists responded to the survey. Many reported having little knowledge and a lack of available information about biosimilar drugs, especially office-based rheumatologists. 98.3% of the respondents had at least one question about biosimilars, and seven in ten raised issues regarding substitution, iatrogenic effects or cost savings that might be achievable. Only eight rheumatologists had already prescribed a biosimilar drug. The most common barriers reported were indication extrapolation and a lack of data about tolerability. Nine out of ten physicians thought that starting a treatment with a biosimilar drug in biologic treatment-naïve patients was possible. The rheumatologists’ opinions were rather favorable towards the implementation of biosimilars, but a majority expressed a negative opinion about substitution by the pharmacist.


Our survey gave a better appreciation of the concerns associated with biosimilar prescriptions. Targeted communication initiatives, deeper experience and availability of new clinical data may help to address the outstanding questions and should overcome the misunderstandings surrounding biosimilar drugs among rheumatologists.


Infliximab Ankylose Spondylitis Adalimumab Insulin Glargine Experience Treatment Failure 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



The authors would like to thank all rheumatologists who participated in the pilot study for giving their impressions and advice—Marc Ardizzone, Hélène Bauer, Emmanuel Chatelus, Jacques-Eric Gottenberg, Paul Moreau, Nawal Rahal, Laëtitia Sparsa—and everyone who provided assistance in the survey’s dissemination: the “National Union of Rheumatologists” (Syndicat National des Médecins Rhumatologues) and the “Inflammatory Joint Disease Working Group of the French Society for Rheumatology” (Club “Rhumatismes et Inflammations”). The authors would like to thank Valérie Leray for proofreading and linguistic review of the manuscript. Last but not least, the authors would like to gratefully acknowledge all participants in the survey for completing the questionnaire.

Author contributions

MB conceived and designed the survey. BM, MCRV, DL, CS and MV were involved in validating the survey questionnaire. MB, CS and JS were involved in the survey’s dissemination. MB collected and analyzed the data. All authors checked the accuracy of the results. All authors were involved in drafting the article and revising it critically for important intellectual content. MB acts as guarantor for the content of the paper. All authors read and approved the final manuscript submitted for publication.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

JS has received grants (<€10,000) from Roche, Pfizer, Abbvie, UCB and consulting fees or honorarium (<€1500) from Roche, Chugai, Bristol Myers Squibb, Abbott, UCB, GSK, LFB, Actelion, Pfizer, Merck Sharp, Novartis, Amgen, Hospira and Abbvie. MB, BM, MCRV, DL, CS and MV declare that they have no conflicts of interest.


This research received no specific grant from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

Supplementary material

40259_2016_202_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (425 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (PDF 425 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Morgane Beck
    • 1
    Email author
  • Bruno Michel
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Marie-Christine Rybarczyk-Vigouret
    • 1
  • Dominique Levêque
    • 2
  • Christelle Sordet
    • 4
  • Jean Sibilia
    • 4
  • Michel Velten
    • 5
  • On behalf of the CRI (Club “Rhumatismes et Inflammations”)
  1. 1.OMEDIT Alsace, Agence Régionale de Santé Alsace Champagne-Ardenne LorraineStrasbourgFrance
  2. 2.Service de Pharmacie-StérilisationC.H.R.U. Hôpitaux Universitaires de StrasbourgStrasbourgFrance
  3. 3.Laboratoire HuManiS-EA 7308, Faculté de pharmacieUniversité de StrasbourgStrasbourgFrance
  4. 4.Service de RhumatologieC.H.R.U. Hôpitaux Universitaires de StrasbourgStrasbourgFrance
  5. 5.Laboratoire d’épidémiologie et de santé publique-EA3430, Faculté de MédecineUniversité de StrasbourgStrasbourgFrance

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