Savings to be made by using etanercept biosimilar in UK

Biosimilars/Research | Posted 17/03/2017 post-comment0 Post your comment

A study of patients taking etanercept to treat rheumatoid arthritis or psoriasis in the UK has shown that there are substantial savings to be made by using the biosimilar [1].

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The objective of the study, carried out by Sandoz, which is the generics division of Novartis, was to demonstrate potential cost savings to the healthcare budget from the launch of Sandoz’s etanercept biosimilar (GP 2015) in the UK.

There is already an etanercept biosimilar Benepali approved in Europe [2]. Sandoz submitted an application for approval of its etanercept biosimilar to the European Medicines Agency (EMA) on 8 December 2015 [3].

The authors used an excel-based model to analyse the impact of the launch of GP 2015 for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and moderate to severe chronic plaque psoriasis (PsO), over a period of one year in the UK.

The study included both etanercept-naïve and patients currently treated with the Enbrel (substituted patients). It was estimated that 23,329 RA patients and 2,679 PsO patients are currently treated with Enbrel in the UK. The authors also estimated that 66 RA patients and 21 PsO patients are put on Enbrel each month in the UK and that 50% of these patients would be put on Sandoz’s etanercept biosimilar.

The cost for the originator product, Amgen/Pfizer’s Enbrel (etanercept), was obtained from British National Formulary and it was assumed that once launched, GP 2015 would be available at a price that is between 10‒30% less than that of Enbrel.

The data was presented at the International Society for Pharmacoeconomics and Outcomes Research (ISPOR) 19th Annual European Congress held in Vienna, Austria on 20 October – 2 November 2016.

The results indicated that GP 2015 ‘may offer cost savings of between GBP 4.8 million (10% discount scenario) and 14.3 million (30% discount scenario)’. This could enable between 568 (10% discount scenario) and 2,191 (30% discount scenario) more patients benefitting from treatment with etanercept.

The authors concluded that ‘this budget impact analysis suggests that Sandoz etanercept biosimilar has significant cost saving potential depending largely on the proportion of patients substituted from Enbrel to Sandoz etanercept biosimilar in the UK’.

Conflict of interest
The authors of the abstract [1] are all employees of Novartis or Sandoz and this research was funded by Sandoz.

Editor’s comment
It should be noted that data of the study presented in this article were published as an abstract and presented at a conference. These data and conclusions should be considered to be preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.

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Biosimilars applications under review by EMA – December 2016

Biosimilars of etanercept

1. Bhattacharyya S, et al. Impact of etanercept biosimilar launches on healthcare spending: A UK budget impact model for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis and chronic plaque psoriasis. Poster PSY35. ISPOR 19th Annual European Congress, Vienna, Austria, 29 October – 2 November 2016.
2. GaBI Online - Generics and Biosimilars Initiative. Biosimilars approved in Europe []. Mol, Belgium: Pro Pharma Communications International; [cited 2017 Mar 17]. Available from:
3. GaBI Online - Generics and Biosimilars Initiative. EMA accepts application for etanercept biosimilar []. Mol, Belgium: Pro Pharma Communications International; [cited 2016 Mar 17]. Available from:

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