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We’ve seen a 166% jump in the use of Real-Time Prescription Benefit to select biosimilars as an alternative treatment. Here’s what that means: Patients with chronic conditions are getting access to treatment faster, easier and more affordably. 

Artificial intelligence is getting all the attention right now, but AI isn’t the only recent technological advance. Medicine has made advances in biologic medications, which are made with living cells rather than chemically synthesized. These medications are used to treat patients for life-altering chronic conditions like cancer and multiple sclerosis.  

Here’s the catch: Biologics are expensive. The expense can limit patient access to these lifesaving medications and increase the risk of prescription abandonment. 

Enter the real-time benefit check, which shows more affordable alternatives. 

Spotlighting Viable Alternatives 

Biosimilars are functionally equivalent to biologics in terms of efficacy and can be brought to market once patent protection for a given biologic has ended. And they come with more attractive price tags.   

As of late August, the Food and Drug Administration has approved 42 biosimilars, with more to come. The increasing number of biosimilars on the market can make it tough for prescribers to keep up with the latest treatment options—and tough to find an affordable medication the patient can adhere to. 

Surescripts Real-Time Prescription Benefit and Electronic Prior Authorization put the spotlight on biosimilars as viable alternatives. These solutions offer insights and streamline workflows across the care journey. Ultimately, the solutions make it simpler to get patients started on the best medication.   

And data from across the Surescripts network shows that e-prescribing of biosimilars is increasing. In fact, the number of e-prescriptions for biosimilars that were selected when a prescriber used Real-Time Prescription Benefit to find a more affordable alternative jumped 166% from January–September 2023 compared to the same period in 2022. 

Insulin: A Real-World Example

Per STAT News, biosimilars are 30% less costly—$665 less costly on average. But the average cost only tells part of the story. The results of a 2022 RAND Corporation study published by the American Journal of Managed Care suggest that biosimilars could lead to billions in savings, but the savings won’t come from the reduced cost of biosimilars alone. Rather, it will come from competitive pressure.  

Take insulin for example. 

It’s generally well known that insulin costs have skyrocketed in recent years, for an increase of 184% since 2012. But as per the Health Care Costs Institute (HCCI), insulin costs have flattened out and are now headed downward. How did this happen? The HCCI points a grateful finger at several insulin biosimilars having come to market.  

Biosimilars are changing the game.  

Go deeper: Solutions like Real-Time Prescription Benefit and Electronic Prior Authorization are changing the game right alongside biosimilars. Here’s how we’re partnering across healthcare to avoid cost concerns, coverage surprises and treatment delays 

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