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UK investigation suggests Merck broke competition law

A provisional statement from the UK Competitions and Markets Authority (CMA) says that Merck Sharp & Dohme (MSD) ran an anticompetitive discount scheme for anti-inflammatory drug Remicade (infliximab).

Biosimilars of epoetin alfa

Last update: 23 June 2017

Epoetin alfa is a human erythropoietin produced in cell culture using recombinant DNA technology. It stimulates erythropoiesis (increases red blood cell levels) and is used to treat anaemia, commonly associated with chronic renal failure and cancer chemotherapy.

Biosimilars of etanercept

Last update: 23 June 2017

Etanercept is a biological drug that treats autoimmune diseases by inhibiting tumour necrosis factor (TNF); a soluble inflammatory cytokine. Etanercept is indicated for the treatment of rheumatoid, juvenile rheumatoid and psoriatic arthritis, plaque psoriasis and ankylosing spondylitis.

Biosimilars of abatacept

Last update: 28 April 2017

Abatacept is a modified antibody biological drug used to treat autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, by interfering with the function of particular cells (T-cells) in the immune system. This action modifies the inflammation and immune activity which cause the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis.

Recommendations to enhance transparency of biosimilar labels

On 6 June 2017, the European Association for Bioindustries (EuropaBio) announced that it had ‘developed recommendations for changes to the Summary of Product Characteristics (SmPC) of biosimilars that would result in an enhanced level of transparency in the label’.

Biosimilars approved in Europe

Last update: 16 June 2017

In the European Union (EU), a legal framework for approving biosimilars was established in 2003. This framework means that biosimilars can only be approved centrally via the European Medicines Agency (EMA) and not nationally.

Biosimilars approved in the US

Last update: 9 June 2017

In the US, a legal framework for approving biosimilars was established in 2009, via the Biologics Price Competition and Innovation Act of 2009 (BPCI Act).

Glossary of key terms

Last update: 9 June 2017

Confusion may sometimes surround terms used in the fields of generics and biosimilars. This has been recognized as a problem by EMA, who has expressed the need to propose a more precise definition for biosimilars due to problems arising from imprecise usage of the terms in the scientific literature and elsewhere [1].

Biosimilars of trastuzumab

Last update: 2 June 2017

Trastuzumab is a monoclonal antibody that interferes with the human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2)/neu receptor. In some cancers, notably certain types of breast cancer, HER2 is over-expressed, and causes cancer cells to reproduce uncontrollably. Trastuzumab is therefore used to treat certain breast cancers.

Biosimilars applications under review by EMA – April 2017

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) is the body responsible for approval of biosimilars within the European Union (EU). A legal framework for approving biosimilars was established in 2003. Approval of biosimilars is based on an abbreviated registration process, which allows biosimilars manufacturers to provide a reduced package of information compared to originator drugs, provided they can prove ‘similarity’ to the originator or reference drug.

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