Chad Pettit, MBA, Discusses Amgen’s Biosimilar Trends Report and the Future of Biosimilars in the US

Chad Pettit, MBA, executive director of Marketing and the Global Biosimilars commercial lead for Amgen, discussed the company’s 2021 Biosimilar Trends Report and his projections for the future of the biosimilars market.

In an interview with The Center forBiosimilars®, Chad Pettit, MBA, executive director of Marketing and Global Biosimilars commercial lead for Amgen, discussed the company’s upcoming 2021 Biosimilar Trends Report, which will be released in September 2021. He also talked about the outlook for the biosimilar industry.

Earlier this summer, a preview of the report was released with observations on biosimilar market share and pricing trends at the wholesale and provider levels.

Looking at the infliximab marketplace, Pettit said the slow uptake of infliximab biosimilars is not a reflection on the health of the biosimilar industry. He expects that interest in biosimilars will increase as more reference products start facing biosimilar competition and more savings are achieved.

Pettit also explained that despite fewer biosimilar approvals in 2020 and 2021, compared with earlier years, the number of biosimilar development programs the FDA is working with has increased, suggesting that a new wave of biosimilar approvals and savings can be expected in the near future.

When asked about current discounts for biosimilars, relative to the cost of reference products, Pettit said price discounts for US biosimilars average 10% to 15% and are significant. He added that cost savings will grow as more competition leads to lower prices for both reference products and biosimilars.

However, Amgen’s July 2020 launch of Avsola (infliximab) on the US market at a 57% discount from the reference product (Remicade) raises the question whether competition is sustainable. It costs money to produce biosimilars and if prices drop too far, too fast, that could discourage manufacturers.

Pettit said that competition should be on a level playing field to ensure that manufacturers are able to invest and the industry is successful.

Although the COVID-19 pandemic diverted the FDA’s attention from biosimilars in 2020, and the number of approvals declined, Pettit is optimistic that this trend will reverse, especially as more competition emerges. He also highlighted pricing trends between different types of biosimilars.

In conclusion, Pettit said the upcoming Amgen report will show that biosimilar uptake and savings data are positive and encouraging. He said that biosimilars will be instrumental in creating sustainability for the biologics market and helping to offset the massive costs often associated with disease burden.