Biologic drugs represent a large and growing portion of health expenditures. Increasing the use of biosimilars is a promising option for controlling spending growth in pharmaceutical care. Amid the considerable uncertainty concerning physicians’ decision to prescribe biosimilars, explicit cost control measures may help increase biosimilar use. We analyze the role of regional cost control measures for biosimilars and their association with physician prescriptions in ambulatory care in Germany. We collect data on cost control measures implemented by German physician associations and national claims data on statutory health insurance covering 2009 to 2015. We perform panel regressions that include time and physician fixed effects to identify the average associations between cost control measures and biosimilar share/use while controlling for unobserved physician heterogeneity, patient structure, and socioeconomic factors. We identify 44 measures (priority prescribing, biosimilar quota) for erythropoiesis-stimulating substances, filgrastim, and somatropin. Estimates of cost control measures and their consequences for biosimilar share and use are heterogeneous by drug, measure type, and physician group. Across specialists, biosimilar quotas accounted for 5.13% to 9.75% of the total average biosimilar share of erythropoiesis-stimulating substances. Explicit quota regulations are more effective than priority prescribing. Regional variation in biosimilar use can be partly attributed to the presence of cost control measures.
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