Gary Lyman, MD, MPH: How Biosimilars Will Impact Price

Gary Lyman, MD, MPH, of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, discusses how biosimilars could impact the cost of care.


The issue is whether these biosimilars will achieve the goal of reducing prices in reducing healthcare costs. And in actual fact, data in Europe (again, they’re about 10 years ahead of us) suggest perhaps a 20% to 30% reduction in pricing when competitive by biosimilars are available in the marketplace.

We're too early to know whether we'll see that type of impact in the United States. If we do, even a 20% to 30% reduction in cost in a multibillion-dollar industry is a large amount of money, so it would be useful, but we don't know yet whether that will actually happen.

Two recent studies published in JAMA Oncology this past year, looking at the early utilization of the hematopoietic growth factor biosimilars suggest maybe about a 10% reduction in price so far, but now we have 5 competitive hematopoietic growth factor biosimilars, we now have 4 trastuzumab or Herceptin biosimilars for breast cancer patients, so as we get multiple competitors in a class of agents, there should be more competition and hopefully a greater impact on price.