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Future Opportunities With Interchangeable Biosimilars


A panel of experts discuss future opportunities with interchangeable biosimilars from payer and provider perspectives.

Ryan Haumschild, PharmD, MS, MBA: Thanks to all of you, my experts, for this rich and informative discussion. Before we conclude, I’d like to get final thoughts from each of you. Dr [Jonathan] Kay, can we start with you? What are your final thoughts from today’s discussion and what are the future opportunities with interchangeable biosimilars?

Jonathan Kay, MD: Thank you very much for that question. The future opportunities for interchangeable biosimilars are closely tied to the future opportunities for all biosimilars. Biosimilars introduced price competition, which reduce the cost of all medications of that class and prevent the inexorable rise in the cost of biopharmaceutical with no biosimilars available. So the future for interchangeable biosimilars is that biosimilars that are given an interchangeable designation will be able to be substituted by the pharmacist if a prescription is written for the reference product, and it will help to ensure this and sustain the existence of biosimilars, which will continue to keep prices of biopharmaceuticals in check.

Ryan Haumschild, PharmD, MS, MBA: The sustainability, the economic impacts are clear. And, definitely, if we can roll this out, I think it’s going to benefit our patients and providers a lot, [and] our health care spending as a whole. Dr [Maia] Kayal, I’d love to hear your final thoughts and maybe the implications of interchangeable biosimilars in the future.

Maia Kayal, MD, MS: I think it’s a really exciting time to practice medicine in the field of immune-mediated inflammatory diseases, because, as we talked about today, there are a lot of biologics on the market, but now we’re seeing a lot more biosimilars increasing on the market as well. From my perspective, we’re most excited about interchangeable biosimilars specifically in inflammatory bowel disease, and that the introduction of interchangeable biosimilars is perhaps allowing us to get medication earlier into the patient’s hands. And this is really important for these immune-mediated inflammatory diseases, because they’re all chronic, they’re all progressive, and they all get worse over time. So if we can start early and start effective therapy, which in many cases is a biologic, and do it in a way that is less burdensome for the patient and the payer by using an interchangeable biosimilar or biosimilar, in general, then we’re actually mitigating that disease early on. And we’re reducing costs over time because we’re reducing the disability, the comorbidities, the need for surgery, and hospitalizations. And, we’re really, at the end of the day, just significantly improving our patient lives. So I’m most excited about using interchangeables early on in the disease process, and, hopefully, fingers crossed, facing fewer burdens and getting the medication into the patient’s hands.

Ryan Haumschild, PharmD, MS, MBA: Those are great comments, the more we can see a patient when they’re motivated, get them on therapy, and see them through while reducing some of those payer strategies, I think is a win. Speaking of payer strategies, Dr [Kimberly C.] Chen, I want to end with you and ask your final thoughts on today’s discussion. What do you think are future opportunities with interchangeable biosimilars?

Kimberly C. Chen, DO, MSHLM: If we step back and look at our national health expenditure in 2021, it was 18.3% of our total GDP [gross domestic product]. If we continue this way, in 2028, it will be one-fifth of our GDP, which translates to about $6.2 billion. We are one of the highest health spenders of developed countries, and our medicine expense per capita is the highest. So how do we fix that? As we all know, specialty drugs continue to increase. So [it’s] having a conversation with providers, patient education, educating them about the biosimilars, as well as mandating that switch to interchangeability, trying to use biosimilars as a new start, when it’s appropriate. Then, lastly, incentivize patients or health care providers to increase the utilization of biosimilars. I think that will get us closer to decreasing our overall health care costs.

Ryan Haumschild, PharmD, MS, MBA: Excellent. Thank you again and to our viewing audience we hope you found this AJMC® Stakeholder Summit to be useful and informative.

Transcript edited for clarity.

This activity is supported by an educational grant from Boehringer Ingelheim.

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