Physician Views: One becomes two – assessing early attitudes towards biosimilar rituximab in Europe

An era of concerted pressure from biosimilar competition has begun in earnest for Roche, with Novartis having confirmed on Monday European approval for its rituximab biosimilar Rixathon. Rixathon becomes the second biosimilar rituximab product to secure approval in Europe (Celltrion's Truxima was green-lit in February), which could stimulate more competitive discounting.

FirstWord Lists: Roche's near-term biosimilar threat in Europe

While market share for branded MabThera will inevitably decline in Europe over the next few years, Roche is hoping – and expected – to maintain some share through the launch of Gazyvaro, approved for the treatment of certain chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL) and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL) patients, where superiority to MabThera has been demonstrated, and by virtue of retained exclusivity for subcutaneously administered rituximab, which provides both convenience and financial benefits (primarily to patients and healthcare providers, respectively).

Therefore, in response to approval of Rixathon we are snap-polling EU5-based oncologists with the following questions…  

A second biosimilar version of rituximab has now been approved in Europe. How comfortable are you with the idea of using biosimilar rituximab?

Very uncomfortable

Moderately uncomfortable

Slightly uncomfortable

Neither comfortable or uncomfortable

Slightly comfortable

Moderately comfortable

Very comfortable

The most recently approved biosimilar version of rituximab is manufactured by Sandoz – a Novartis company. Does this make you feel more comfortable about using the product?


Yes – slightly

Yes – moderately

Yes – significantly

Yes – very significantly

What percentage of CLL and NHL patients who would have previously been treated with MabThera do you currently treat with Gazyvaro?


Taking into account the availability of other therapies – including biosimilar rituximab products – do you expect use of Gazyvaro in these indications to increase or decline over the next five years?

Decline significantly

Decline moderately

Decline slightly

Stay the same

Increase slightly

Increase moderately

Increase significantly

Will availability of subcutaneous MabThera deter use of biosimilar rituximab products, irrespective of biosimilar price discounting?


Yes – slightly

Yes – moderately

Yes – significantly

Yes – very significantly

Results and related analysis will shortly be published for FirstWord Pharma PLUS subscribers to read, with the opportunity for non-FirstWord Pharma PLUS subscribers to purchase these findings. To be notified when poll results and analysis become available, please click here.

As always, FirstWord would very much like to receive your feedback and suggestions. Note: FirstWord Polls are powered by MedePolls, a fast-turnaround service to conduct instant polls of up to five questions with guaranteed samples that include physicians from dozens of specialties and over 100 markets. To conduct this poll with a different audience, or an entirely different poll, contact us at

To read more Physician Views articles, click here.

Reference Articles