National Health Service Reports Substantial Savings From Biosimilar Adalimumab

September 4, 2019
Kelly Davio

England’s National Health Service (NHS) says that it has saved £110 million (US $134 million) by implementing its policy to use the best-value adalimumab after the brand-name Humira lost European patent protection in October 2018.

England’s National Health Service (NHS) says that it has saved £110 million (US $134 million) by implementing its policy to use the best-value adalimumab after the brand-name Humira lost European patent protection in October 2018.

Prior to its loss of patent protection, AbbVie’s Humira was the single medicine on which NHS hospitals spent the most, at £400 million (US $487 million) each year. In preparation for biosimilar availability, the NHS used an approach in which it awarded lots of the adalimumab market to multiple adalimumab manufacturers, and the size of each lot was dependent upon the strength of the offers that drug makers made during the tendering process. The biosimilars now available under the NHS system are Amgen’s Amgevita, Samsung Bioepis’ Imraldi, Sandoz’s Hyrimoz, and Mylan’s Hulio.

The newly announced savings from biosimilar adalimumab come in addition to the £413 million (US $503 million) saved over the past 2 years through the NHS’ concerted efforts to use generics and biosimilars, and the NHS says that it will also “accelerate and widen the uptake of best value biologic medicines” in an effort to save another £400 million to £500 million (US $487 million to $609 million) per year by 2020-2021.

Among the other savings generated during 2018-2019 are £32 million (US $39 million) from biosimilar infliximab, £36 million (US $44 million) from biosimilar etanercept, £45 million (US $55 million) from biosimilar rituximab, and £24 million (US $29 million) from biosimilar trastuzumab.

These savings will be reinvested in new, innovative treatments, says the NHS, noting that “These benefits have only been possible by working closely with patients, clinical teams and NHS trusts.”

Simon Stevens, the NHS’ chief executive, said in a statement that “Use of the best value versions of expensive medicines is already delivering effective treatment for patients across the NHS, including those with cancer, offering the right care for patients while saving the tax payer hundreds of millions of pounds.”