Price/access expected to be major drivers for biosimilars uptake

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Payers in the US expect price/access to be the major drivers for biosimilars uptake, according to a report published by biotech giant Amgen.

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The Amgen survey of 40 different payers found the following regarding payer expectations for pricing/access as value drivers for biosimilars:

  • Projections continue to vary on the expected cost savings that may result from near-term biosimilar launches; a 2008 Congressional Budget Office report suggested roughly US$25 billion in savings from 2009 through 2018
  • Most payers expect greater pricing discounts within 2–3 years of launch for both biosimilars and their originators. Research indicates that payers believe originators’ net discount may be > 30% after 30 months and biosimilars are expected to follow originator discounting strategies
  • Successful entry may be dependent on the total value of biosimilars, including cost, but also robustness of data and individual manufacturer reliability

Most payers expect the primary objective for the use of biosimilars to be cost containment (73%), with expanding access (14%) and enhancing the patient experience (11%) falling way behind. Payers continue to debate the initial net discount of products attributed to biosimilars, but most believe it will be at least 30% within a few years.

In Europe, biosimilars have not always been priced below reference products and the level of price erosion has been gradual. However, significant price reductions of 45% in France and 72% in Norway have also been observed for the infliximab biosimilar Inflectra/Remsima [1].

According to Amgen, a successful biosimilar entry may require:

  • Understanding that biosimilars are similar but not identical to reference products, unlike small molecule generics, which are exact replicas
  • Trusted manufacturing partner with proven track record of quality and reliability
  • Compelling data on highly similar quality and no meaningful differences in safety and efficacy
  • Relentless attention to pharmacovigilance, traceability and accountability
  • Confidence and buy-in from all stakeholders to realize the full potential of savings 

Over time, the success of biosimilars will depend on gaining the confidence of patients, prescribers and payers, maintaining a strong safety profile and reducing the cost of care – without impairing care quality or outcomes.

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Payers in US view biosimilars as a lower-cost branded option

Payers in US expect biosimilars to reduce costs

1.    GaBI Online - Generics and Biosimilars Initiative. Biosimilar infliximab offered to French hospitals at 45% discount []. Mol, Belgium: Pro Pharma Communications International; [cited 2016 Apr 29]. Available from:

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Source: Amgen

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