A survey of US gastroenterologists has shown that increasing numbers of professionals expect to adopt Abbott/Eisai’s Humira as the primary treatment for Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.

The report by Decision Resources estimates that towards the end of 2010, fewer patients will be treated using Centocor Ortho Biotech/Merck/Mitsubishi Tanabe’s Remicade while the percentage of biologics-treated patients receiving Abbott/Eisai’s Humira will increase to 36%.

The report finds that, according to surveyed MCO pharmacy directors, Humira has achieved the most favourable tier placement among biologics for Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, with the majority of plans assigning the drug to tier one or tier two.

Surveyed pharmacy directors also indicate that they place Biogen Idec/Elan‘s Tysabri on tier three or higher, indicating that the drug is generally classified as a non-preferred brand.

Decision Resources analyst Kathryn BentOn said that Gastroenterologists’ reservation of Remicade for later-line use reflects the effectiveness of non-biological therapies for ulcerative colitis such as aminosalicylates and corticosteroids.

“It also reflects that Remicade became available somewhat recently as the only approved biologic for ulcerative colitis,” Benton said.

The report is based on a US survey of 103 gastroenterologists and 20 MCO pharmacy directors.