What is Stickiness Phenomena?
What stickiness phenomena is, how it originates and how it can impacts pharmaceuticals pricing and procurement? Is therapeutic adherence always standing on sound grounds?
Concerning biological and biosimilar products in Europe, many of the components that define the stickiness phenomena, although explainable, seem to be arguably rational. In many European countries switching a patient from one biological drug to another requires his/her consent, and in all European countries, switching can be initiated by the physician. As the scene is set up, cognitive biases can influence the decision-making process on both sides. Patients´ perception that a higher priced medication is better medication, especially in acute conditions and where patient directly interacts with the product (1), can lead to a biased decision-making process. Here, I don´t aim to reduce the importance of the patients´ decisions based on their experience with the product, but this is rather a comment to aim at the irrational component of their decision-making process. Similarly, all considerations on the physicians’ side to adhere to the product used to initiate the treatment of a patient, other than therapeutic continuity that rests on the evidence-based clinical decision-making process, can be argued as irrational.
Whether based on therapeutic continuity or other factors, the stickiness level is a measure that can be used to appraise the product´s development trajectory or life-cycle. To put in the balance, in a tendering world, a perfect stickiness would be a stable, winning rate of the first biological (either a reference or biosimilar) product over the total biosimilar product wins awarded. In contrast, we can expect no or minimal stickiness levels to non-branded genericized cardiovascular portfolios, or NSAIDs procured for inpatient care for example.