Biosimilar infliximab could save Canada over CA$2 million by 2021

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Estimates for the potential savings from the use of infliximab biosimilars in Canada suggests that savings by 2021 could be between CA$447 million and CA$2,310 million, depending on the level of uptake.

Health Canada V13I20

In a follow up to a report on the uptake of biosimilar infliximab in Canada [1], the Patented Medicine Prices Review Board (PMPRB) has published projected cost savings from the use of biosimilar infliximab under different scenarios.

Infliximab is a monoclonal antibody treatment for autoimmune diseases including inflammatory bowel disease, rheumatoid arthritis and psoriasis. Infliximab was one of the first biosimilar medicines to be approved in Canada. Pfizer’s infliximab biosimilar Inflectra was first sold in the country in 2015. The market for infliximab in Canada is currently worth CA$1 billion, according to the PMPRB.

Between 2015 and 2018 in Canada, CA$62 million was spent on the biosimilar, resulting in savings of approximately CA$108 million. If the same trend continues, savings from 2019 until the end of 2021 are expected to be CA$447 million, see Figure 1.

Figure 1: Estimated cost savings for infliximab biosimilars based on current Canadian trends

GW4188G Fig 1 V20I04EO

Data is based on quarterly Canadian sales from 2015 to 2018 and forecast to 2021.
Source: IQVIA MIDAS database, prescription retail and hospital markets. 

However, the PMPRB reports that if uptake of biosimilar infliximab increased to the median Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) level, savings could increase by almost CA$1 million to CA$1,412 million in total. This is based on total sales of CA$1,644 million.

In the ‘OECD high scenario’, if uptake matched the median of the top four OECD countries and the biosimilar price was the same as the OECD median, sales between 2019 and 2021 are forecasted to be CA$1,876 million with savings of CA$2,310 million, see Figure 2 – over CA$1.8 million more than the current trend predicts.

Figure 2: Estimated cost savings for infliximab biosimilars in OECD high scenario

GW4188G Fig 2 V20I04EO

Based on quarterly sales under the OECD high scenario from 2015 to 2018 and forecast to 2021.
Source: IQVIA MIDAS database, prescription retail and hospital markets.

These findings demonstrate the high potential cost savings from the use of infliximab biosimilars in Canada if uptake were increased. Data shows uptake for biosimilar infliximab was less than 10% in 2018 [1], which suggests further initiatives to improve market penetration are necessary.

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1. GaBI Online - Generics and Biosimilars Initiative. Biosimilar infliximab uptake in Canada []. Mol, Belgium: Pro Pharma Communications International; [cited 2020 Sep 4]. Available from: 

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Source: Government of Canada

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