Charles Saunders, MD: Biosimilars in Specialty Pharmacy

Charles Saunders, MD, CEO of Integra Connect, discusses the promise of biosimilars in specialty pharmacy.


How are you seeing biosimilars impact the world of specialty pharmacy?

I think that the promise of biosimilars to bring down the cost of drugs is certainly out there based on the experience that we’ve had with generics. I’m not sure that we’re really seeing the impact as great, though, because the prices of the biosimilars are not that much lower than the other drugs—so, maybe 25% to 35% reduction.

I think also, in some cases, I think providers are not—they might be a little bit more reluctant to switch in the case of a therapeutic agent until there’s more clinical evidence of efficacy. And that’s not the case necessarily with supportive therapy, where it’s much easier to make that switch.

So, impact there, promise still there, I think there could be some pricing advantages to the providers that have a “buy and bill” program or they pay a little bit lower price for the acquisition of the drug. Then, if it’s reimbursed at [average sales prices, ASP] plus 6%, they just have a lower cost basis on a drug, so there’s some economic advantages too.