How Regence is using biosimilars to cut $37M in annual drug spending 

Through a comprehensive strategy, Regence has achieved a 95 percent adoption rate of biosimilars among its 3.4 million members.

The parent company of the BCBS affiliates in Idaho, Oregon, Utah and Washington said Nov. 15 it leads the nation in adoption rates for the alternative to biologics, which can cost 15 to 30 percent more than biosimilars.

Regence said less than 2 percent of its claims are for specialty drugs, but they account for more than 55 percent of annual drug spending. In 2023, it expects biosimilar costs to fall even further as more competitors enter the market.

To achieve better costs, the company said it launched educational communication campaigns for members and providers, implemented new medical policies, and made it easier for providers to switch to biosimilars. Regence also evaluated biosimilar manufacturer capacities to ensure availability, and removed or pre-approved prior authorization requirements for them.

Through this strategy, the company says it has decreased specialty drug spending by $37 million every year. One example is the rheumatology drug, infliximab. Adoption of the infliximab biosimilar grew from 11 percent to over 94 percent in three months.

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