Capture of biologic and biosimilar dispensings in a consortium of U.S.-based claims databases: Utilization of national drug codes and Healthcare Common Procedure Coding System modifiers in medical claims

Academic Article


  • Purpose: To assess the capture of biologics (originator and biosimilar) in the Biologics and Biosimilars Collective Intelligence Consortium (BBCIC) Distributed Research Network (DRN), with a focus on medical claim National Drug Code (NDC), a new data field, and Healthcare Common Procedure Coding System (HCPCS) modifier. Methods: We conducted a repeated cross-sectional study among patients with medical and pharmacy benefits enrolled in insurance plans participating in the BBCIC DRN between 1 January 2013 and 30 September 2017. We calculated the proportion of medical claims with ≥1 NDC and identified select biologics using four different approaches: (a) specific HCPCS alone, (b) specific HCPCS and NDC, (c) non-specific HCPCS with NDC, and (d) HCPCS with modifiers (applicable to biosimilars). Numbers of dispensings were calculated for each biologic by approach and select patient and claim characteristics. Results: More than 1.5 million eligible participants contributed approximately 4 million person-years of data, including 1.2 billion medical claims. The proportion of medical claims with ≥1 NDC increased from 1.2% in 2013 to 3.0% in 2017. Medical claim NDCs identified 39% and 28% of vedolizumab dispensed in 2014 and 2015 and 30% of Epogen/Procrit dispensed overall. Out of 26,381 filgrastim biosimilar dispensings identified, 51% had a HCPCS modifier and 12% had a medical claim NDC for Zarxio. HCPCS modifiers and medical claim NDCs were present for 38% and 3% of all infliximab biosimilars dispensed (total n = 1,244). Conclusions: Medical claim NDC and HCPCS modifier improves identification of select biologics without product-specific HCPCS code, thereby facilitating product-specific biologic research.
  • Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Zhang J; Haynes K; Mendelsohn AB; Marshall J; Barr CE; McDermott C; Brown J; Kline A; Kenney J; King KJ
  • Start Page

  • 778
  • End Page

  • 785
  • Volume

  • 29
  • Issue

  • 7