US PBMs add multiple Humira biosimilars to formularies

Biosimilares/General | Posted 03/02/2023 post-comment0

In the US it has been announced that several pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) will be adding multiple biosimilar versions of AbbVie’s Humira (adalimumab) to their formularies in 2023.

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The PBMs that will be increasing the biosimilar options for patients using Humira are Cigna's PBM Express Scripts and Optum Rx, the pharmacy benefit management subsidiary of UnitedHealth Group. The two PBMs will place the biosimilars in the same tier as Humira within their formularies.

The aim of this is to try to reduce the rising prices of specialty drug costs, which represented just 2% of prescriptions but 50% of costs in 2022. It is hoped that adding multiple biosimilar products will increase patient choice and increase accessibility due to the lower price of biosimilars. Humira costs more than US$50,000 a year per patient, however, by increasing the number of biosimilars of this product available will drive down treatment costs. 

This comes at a time when a large range of biosimilars of the anti-inflammatory drug Humira are expected to flood. There could be as many as 10+ biosimilar competitors on the market by the end of 2023, based on current US Food and Drug Administration approvals and pending applications [1, 2]. Humira is a monoclonal antibody used to treat a range of inflammatory conditions including rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis and inflammatory bowel disease [3].

It is likely that PBMs will expand this move to include biosimilar versions of other blockbuster drugs, improving affordability and accessibility for US patients of these treatments too. It is proposed that the potential savings across the industry thanks to biosimilars could be over US$100 billion over the next five years.

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1. GaBI Online - Generics and Biosimilars Initiative. Humira (adalimumab) biosimilars pipeline []. Mol, Belgium: Pro Pharma Communications International; [cited 2023 Feb 3]. Available from:
2. GaBI Online - Generics and Biosimilars Initiative. New adalimumab biosimilars prepare to launch in Canada, US and Europe []. Mol, Belgium: Pro Pharma Communications International; [cited 2023 Feb 3]. Available from:
3. GaBI Online - Generics and Biosimilars Initiative. Biosimilars of adalimumab []. Mol, Belgium: Pro Pharma Communications International; [cited 2023 Feb 3]. Available from:

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