Biosimilars Could Save $110 Billion Over Next 5 Years

Access to biologics increased by as much as 100% after biosimilars became available.

The entry of biosimilars into the prescription drug market could provide better access to advanced treatment with a projected total savings of $110 billion over the next 5 years across the United States and Europe, according a report released today by the IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics.

Currently, original biologics garner $50 billion annually in sales, but according to the IMS Institute, biosimilars will start competing with original biologics by 2020. Opening markets to biosimilar competition could result in a 30% reduction for health systems in price per treatment day compared with originator biologics.

The extent of savings will be dependent on policy and implementation approaches within the European Union (EU). Additionally, stakeholder education and incentives will be a key role in ensuring biosimilars live up to their full potential.

“The prospect of more affordable biologic options that are safe and effective opens up opportunities for health systems to expand access to more patients, and frees up resources for investment in new areas,” said Senior Vice President and Executive Director of IMS Institute, Murray Aitken. “This also can yield significant cost savings—but not all markets are ready to fully benefit from the imminent surge of biosimilar molecules.”

The report highlighted 5 key findings impacting the biosimilar landscape:

  • variations in policy approaches across the EU that are limiting biosimilar opportunity
  • biosimilars have the potential to generate $56 to $110 billion in total savings over the next 5 years
  • access to biologic treatments has increased as much as 100% after biosimilars became available
  • increase in competition is expected as new biosimilars come onto the market
  • a balanced approach is needed between price control, and ensuring a sustainable and competitive marketplace

Different countries across Europe have adopted an array of approaches for biosimilars and not every stakeholder is using competition to maximize the benefits biosimilars offer in a sustainable way, the report noted.

Currently, Germany is the most successful in educating physicians and incorporating measures that encourage biosimilar prescribing. However, Austria has taken an approach where certain biosimilar medicines are subject to mandatory price reductions that can force manufacturers out of the market. This results in reduced access to some biosimilar products.

It’s expected that 8 major biologic medications will lose exclusivity by 2020, including including treatments for auto-immune disorders and diabetes. In the EU, erythropoietins (EPOs), granulocyte-colony stimulating factors (G-CSFs), and human growth hormone (HGH) have risen after the launch of biosimilar versions.

Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, and Romania were previously restricted from these biosimilars, but the average uptake of EPOs increased by more than 250% after biosimilars were introduced to the market.

In terms of research and development, 30 companies are actively pursuing biosimilars for 16 distinct molecules that could increase competition by 2020. The majority of biosimilars in the pipeline are for versions of infliximab, etanercept, rituximab and adalimumab.

In order to achieve the full potential savings from biosimilar benefits, the report noted that a balance must be reached to incorporate patient, physician, and payer education while including incentives for both manufacturers and physicians.