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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).

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’.

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 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.

Biosimilars of teriparatide

Last update: 9 May 2017

Teriparatide is a recombinant form of parathyroid hormone (PTH). Teriparatide is identical to a portion of human PTH and intermittent use activates osteoblasts more than osteoclasts, which leads to an overall increase in bone. This makes it an effective anabolic, i.e. bone growing, agent. It is therefore used for the treatment of osteoporosis in postmenopausal women and men at high risk for fracture and for glucocorticoid-induced osteoporosis in men and postmenopausal women.

WHO to launch prequalification programme for biosimilars

The World Health Organization (WHO) announced on 4 May 2017 that it would launch a pilot project for prequalifying biosimilars. This move says the organization, is a ‘step towards making some of the most expensive treatments for cancer more widely available in low- and middle-income countries’.

Fujifilm ramps up biosimilars production as UK court allows Humira biosimilar

A UK court has ruled in the favour of Japan-based Fujifilm Kyowa Kirin Biologics’ Humira biosimilar. The Fujifilm corporation has also announced a multi-million-dollar investment in its biologicals production facilities in the US.

Increasing access to biosimilars and generics in Europe

On 2 March 2017, the European Parliament voted on a resolution to strike a better balance between European Union (EU) countries’ public health interests and those of the pharmaceutical industry.

Amgen at the centre of biosimilars disputes

The disputes involve a biosimilar of Amgen’s biosimilar of Roche’s Avastin (bevacizumab) and Amgen’s blockbuster Neulasta (pegfilgrastim) being made by Coherus Biosciences.

FDA biologicals naming guidance could cost providers billions

Healthcare organizations have expressed their ‘grave concerns’ over the ‘enormous financial consequences’ of the US Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) guidance on naming of biologicals.