An initiative at the University of North Carolina health system successfully increased the use of biosimilars in rheumatology and gastroenterology clinics. Clinically stable patients were transitioned from Remicade to biosimilars, Renflexis or Avsola, in 2021. A retrospective review of electronic health records was conducted to compare clinical outcomes.
Out of 180 patients, 47.2% were considered appropriate for the switch, and 63.5% successfully switched. Reasons for not switching included patient preference, inability to reach patients, insurance or cost issues, intolerance, and unknown reasons. Adverse effects were reported, with 9.4% attributed to biosimilars. Some patients reported worsened symptoms, but it was challenging to determine the cause. Overall, the initiative increased biosimilar use without sacrificing clinical control and offered financial advantages.