Merck Seeing Gains for Renflexis at VA

Merck’s infliximab biosimilar, sold as Renflexis and approved by the FDA in April of last year, was determined to be the lowest priced infliximab option available to the US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), and was awarded a national contract. Subsequently, it has become the sole infliximab product available on the VA's National Formulary. 
 
Samantha DiGrande
October 05, 2018
Yesterday, Merck announced that it was pleased with the decision of the US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to adopt biosimilar medicines “as a means of increasing biologic medicine options for Veterans.” 

Merck’s infliximab biosimilar, sold as Renflexis and approved by the FDA in April of last year, was determined to be the lowest priced infliximab option available to the VA, and was awarded a national contract. Subsequently, it has become the sole infliximab product available on the VA National Formulary. 

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“VA recognizes the value biosimilars bring to the healthcare system, and the award of this contract is consistent with VA’s goal of providing quality treatment options while optimizing resources in the care of Veterans,” said Michael Valentino, MD, chief consultant for pharmacy benefits management.

Renflexis is indicated to treat Crohn disease, ulcerative colitis, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, and plaque psoriasis in the United States. It has seen far less uptake than its fellow infliximab biosimilar, Inflectra, in the US market since its commercial launch, however. 

The formulary update is the latest in good news for Merck’s biosimilar infliximab, as earlier this year, Canadian province British Columbia announced that it will reimburse for Renflexis under its public drug plan. 

Like the reference infliximab, Remicade, and another infliximab biosimilar in British Columbia, Inflectra, Renflexis was classified as a Limited Coverage Drug, which means that it will not generally be considered as a first-line therapy. 

The announcement followed a previous recommendation from the Canadian Agency for Drugs and Technologies in Health that stated the biosimilar be reimbursed for patients for whom infliximab is the most appropriate treatment option.




 

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