Researchers to Present Findings on US and European Biosimilar Use and Cost Savings

During the 34th International Conference on Pharamcoepidemiology and Therapeutic Risk Management, taking place from August 22 to 26 in Prague, Czech Republic, researchers will present findings that contrast the cost savings made possible by biosimilars in the US and European contexts.
Kelly Davio
August 23, 2018
During the 34th International Conference on Pharamcoepidemiology and Therapeutic Risk Management, taking place from August 22 to 26 in Prague, Czech Republic, researchers will present findings that contrast the use and cost savings made possible by biosimilars in the US and European contexts.

Medicare Patients Pay More Out of Pocket for Biosimilar Filgrastim
US researchers assessed how out-of-pocket spending for Medicare Part D enrollees will be impacted by availability of biosimilars.1 Using Medicare formulary files from CMS for the third quarter of 2016, the investigators analyzed 879 stand-alone and 1920 Medicare Advantage drug formularies, summarizing drug prices at the point of sale and estimating out-of-pocket costs for beneficiaries using filgrastim products.

They found that 96.2% of plans covered the reference filgrastim, Neupogen, and 57.2% covered the biosimilar, Zarxio. Out-of-pocket annual spending was higher for the biosimilar ($7105) than it was for the reference ($5538) by $1567.

“Generic competition and biosimilar entry in the specialty drug context may be less effective at reducing drug prices and patient out‐of‐pocket spending in the United States than anticipated,” concluded the authors.

Baseline Characteristics Play a Role in Which US Patients Receive Biosimilars
Furthermore, for US patients, baseline characteristics appear to play a role in which populations receive reference filgrastim versus the biosimilar Zarxio or follow-on tbo-filgrastim.2

Click to read more about tbo-filgrastim.

US researchers examined patient characteristics—and reported adverse events (AEs)—for new filgrastim users between 2015 and 2016. Using MarketScan data, they identified 5470 patients, 4155 of whom used the reference, 771 of whom used the follow-on, and 544 of whom used the biosimilar. More than 4% of reference use was among pediatric patients (versus less than 1% for the follow-on or biosimilar), while use among elderly patients was comparable among the 3 groups.

Patients who received the reference were more likely to be male and more likely to be diagnosed with leukemia than with other cancer types versus those who received the biosimilar or follow-on. Differences in use may be due, the authors write, to cancer type or age, provider preference, and reimbursement policies. Slight differences in AEs observed across the groups were likely to be a result of these differences in prescribing patterns, they added.

Biosimilars Reduce Economic Burden in Chronic Kidney Disease in Italy
Meanwhile, Italian researchers conducted a multi-regional, population-based study of the cost of treating patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD) using erythropoiesis stimulating agents (ESA).3 ESAs represent between 6% and 17% of total treatment costs for patients with CKD in Italy, the investigators note.

In a total population of approximately 8 million, 7810 incident ESA users were identified between the years 2009 and 2014. The yearly mean cost of ESA treatment for each patient ranged from €1551 (approximately $1794) for those with stage I to stage III disease, to €2045 (approximately $2365) for patients receiving dialysis. Assuming 50% biosimilar uptake, the annual mean cost‐savings would total between €65,730 (approximately $76,013) for patients with stage I to stage III disease to €118,769 (approximately $137,350) for patients receiving dialysis.  

“ESAs have a relevant economic burden in CKD and biosimilars guarantee 25‐30% saving of ESA purchase costs in CKD patients,” concluded the authors.

References
1. Dusetzina SB, Jazowski SA, Cole AL, Nguyen J. Coverage and out-of-pocket spending on brand versus generic/biosimilar specialty drugs in Medicare Part D. Presented at the 34th International Conference on Pharamcoepidemiology and Therapeutic Risk Management, August 22-26, 2018; Prague, Czech Republic. Abstract 679. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/pds.4629.

2. Brady BL, Irwin DE. Adverse events with recombinant G-CSF for neutropenia in cancer. Presented at the 34th International Conference on Pharamcoepidemiology and Therapeutic Risk Management, August 22-26, 2018; Prague, Czech Republic. Abstract 1030. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/pds.4629.

3. Ingrasciotta Y, Formica D, Giorgianni F, et al. Evaluation of health direct costs associated with the use of biosimilar and originator erythropoiesis stimulating agents (ESAs): an Italian, multi-regional, population-based study. Presented at the 34th International Conference on Pharamcoepidemiology and Therapeutic Risk Management, August 22-26, 2018; Prague, Czech Republic. Abstract 1036. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/pds.4629.



 

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