Biosimilars could save US and EU $110bn by 2020 – report

Healthcare systems in the US and the five largest EU countries could save up to 98 billion euros ($110 billion) by 2020 by using biosimilars instead of originator drugs, according to a report from IMS Health.

IMS added that biosimilars could bring a 30% reduction in price per treatment day across eight key originator biologics set to lose exclusivity in 2016-2020.

This could yield cumulative savings of about 15 billion euros over the next five years.

Authors noted that at the end of 2015, there were 41 biosimilars in pipeline for four key biologics – J&J/MSD’s Remicade (infliximab), Amgen/Pfizer’s Enbrel (etanercept), and AbbVie’s Humira (adalimumab) for inflammatory diseases and Roche’s Mabthera (rituximab) blood cancer drug.

In the report, The Potential for Biosimilar Medicines, IMS added that biosimilars could expand access to drugs and offer doctors and patients a greater range of treatment choices.

IMS used the example of filgrastim in England, where consumption increased by 104% between 2009, when the biosimilar was launched, and January 2014.

“This increase represents a significant cohort of patients who otherwise may not have been able to access treatment with the molecule,” the report said. Improved choice could translate into improved patient outcomes, authors said.

But IMS said the extent of the savings depends on policy development and implementation across healthcare systems.

The report warned that some EU countries were hampering biosimilar competition. “Competition averse” countries such as France and Belgium have not introduced national biosimilar price cuts, have no prescribing incentives and no prescription quota.

Meanwhile Germany promotes biosimilar competition as it actively manages biosimilar prices nationally, educates physicians and payers, and stimulates biosimilar prescribing via quotas.

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