Biosimilars Could Save US Consumers $250 Billion Over Next Decade

Specialty Pharmacy Times, March/April 2014, Volume 5, Issue 2

As America awaits the first biosimilar to hit the US market, a recent study suggests that roadblocks for biosimilar approval are preventing consumers from realizing significant financial relief.

Published online in February 2014 on the Social Science Research Network, the paper indicates that over the next 10 years, American consumers could save more than $250 billion from biosimilar competition for just 11 biologic drugs if they were approved by the FDA. Biologics accounted for 25% of total pharmaceutical market spending in 2012, according to America’s Health Insurance Plans.

Researchers note that over $1 trillion has been saved through competition between generic drugs and brand-name pharmaceuticals since 1984. In 2010 alone, consumers in the United States saved an estimated $157 billion through generics competition, according to the study.

Impediments to biosimilar approval in the United States include the adoption of a different naming policy for biosimilars than the one currently in place for generics and the passage of biosimilar-restricting laws in several states, according to the study.

"Considered fully, impeding biosimilars unjustifiably increases healthcare costs while decreasing availability of powerful drugs," the author writes. "Policies attempting to bar biosimilars from consumers—whether in the guise of a new naming convention, state regulations encouraging physician confusion or patient hesitation, or simply increasing recordkeeping costs—harm patients instead of helping monopolists." SPT

About the Author

Davy James is the associate editor of Specialty Pharmacy Times. He can be reached at djames@pharmacytimes.com.