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Budget savings from biosimilar infliximab in the UK, France, Japan and Korea Posted 11/09/2020

Biological medicines are attracting attention from policymakers and health insurers across countries due to their increased financial burden. The potential for biosimilars’ cost savings can be influenced by various factors, including supply-side (pricing policies) and demand-side (usage-enhancing) policies.

Kim and colleagues explored the market dynamics after the entry of biosimilar infliximab among four countries with (UK, France), and without (Japan, Korea) demand-side policies, using MIDAS-IQVIA data with 22 quarters of observational data up to March 2018 [1].

With the introduction of biosimilars, the sales value of infliximab increased approximately 2.5 times in Korea, whereas it only slightly increased (1.2 times for France and the UK) or decreased (0.9 times for Japan) in other countries. While stable market size dynamics were observed in the other countries, an escalating market size attributable to the increase in originator infliximab was observed in Korea. In the UK and France, which have implemented demand-side policies, the sales volume of originator infliximab appreciably decreased after the entry of biosimilar infliximab while that of biosimilars increased. However, in Korea, which has supply-side policies based on price-linking and few demand-side policies, the volume of originator infliximab actually increased by 70% alongside a very limited increase in biosimilar infliximab. The lowest price ratio between biosimilar and originator infliximab was found in Japan at 68%. In France and Korea, the ex-factory prices of biosimilar infliximab were 99% and 95%, respectively, of the originator infliximab price. In the UK, the ex-factory price of biosimilar infliximab started at 87% of that of originator infliximab and then decreased to 80% as the market matured. However, actual price differences might differ.

The authors suggested that the introduction of biosimilars actually increased financial burden in Korea and the government body should consider demand-side policy more heavily than supply-side policy to enhance cost-savings achieved by the introduction of the biosimilars in Korean context.

Conflict of interest
Authors of the research paper [1] reported conflict of interest, including being a founder of the KU Leuven Fund on Market Analysis of Biologics and Biosimilars following Loss of Exclusivity (MABEL), as well as being involved in a stakeholder roundtable and having contributed to studies on biologicals and biosimilars. For full details of the authors’ conflict of interest, see the research paper [1].

Abstracted by Yujeong Kim, Ewha Womans University, Seoul, South Korea.

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Reference
1. Kim Y, Kwon HY, Godman B, et al. Uptake of biosimilar infliximab in the UK, France, Japan, and Korea: budget savings or market expansion across countries?. Front Pharmacol. 2020;11:970.

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