US vs Germany and Switzerland: US biosimilars market lags with higher prices

Biosimilars/Research | Posted 27/01/2023 post-comment0 Post your comment

In Germany and Switzerland, more biosimilars were marketed and at lower prices than in the US between 2011 and 2020, finds a JAMA Network Open article [1].

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The study was carried out by researchers from the University of Zurich, London School of Economics and Political Science and the Drug Commission of the German Medical Association. They compared biosimilars uptake and prices in the US with those in Germany and Switzerland where drug prices are negotiated on a national level.

It was revealed that overall, fewer biosimilars entered the market in the US between 2011 and 2020 compared with the European countries. In addition, on average, the biosimilar market share at launch was highest in Germany but it increased at the fastest rate in the US. In general, the US has lagged behind Europe in terms of biosimilars legislation, with the legal framework for their approval being put into place in 2009, whereas in Europe this was established in 2003 [2]. 

The study also found that the monthly treatment costs of biosimilars were substantially higher in the US compared with the European countries. Median monthly treatment costs per patient were U$8,987 for biosimilars in the US, U$$932 in Germany and U$$1,351 in Switzerland. 

A total of 15 biosimilars and six reference products were included for the US, 52 biosimilars and 15 reference products for Germany, and 28 biosimilars and 13 reference products for Switzerland. Some US-approved biosimilars were not included in the study as they were not approved via the biosimilars pathway or are not yet launched.

The study notes that in 2022, global spending on biosimilars is expected to reach US$452 billion, as such, this is an important time for these type of drug products as they now play a big role in the global biological drugs market.  The researchers highlight that adopting policies that counter anticompetitive practices in the US could allow biosimilars to enter the market sooner. Such policies are also likely to lower healthcare costs and improve access to medicines. In general, awareness of biosimilars should be promoted to increase uptake of biosimilars across the globe.

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1. Carl DL, Laube Y, Serra-Buriel M, et al. Comparison of uptake and prices of biosimilars in the US, Germany, and Switzerland.JAMA Netw Open. 2022;5(12):e2244670.
2. GaBI Online - Generics and Biosimilars Initiative. The sluggish US biosimilars []. Mol, Belgium: Pro Pharma Communications International; [cited 2023 Jan 27]. Available from:

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