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Patient Savings From Biosimilars


Amanda Forys, MSPH: I know that we’re really new to the biosimilars market here in the [United States], but the European community has been doing this for quite a few years now, and they’ve had some significant savings in biosimilars.

I think we’ve also seen some really innovative payment models, kind of structured around the use of products and risk-sharing agreements and outcomes-based type contracts. I think we have a lot of different things going on in the [European Union] that have contributed to that savings.

But here in the [United States], we’re new, and we’re not quite seeing the uptake that we maybe expected from these products. How do you think that’s going to change over time?

Christy M. Gamble, JD, DrPH, MPH: Well, we’re hoping that conversations like this will actually affect the cost that we’re seeing now.

When we’re looking at biologics, the prices are exorbitant. [With] patient populations, you have 2 sets: 1 set that’s willing to take the risk on paying for these medications, and another set that says, “it’s just out of my reach right now.”

When it comes to biosimilars, you’re only seeing about a 10% to 15% difference in price when it comes to biologics and biosimilars, so patients are not really seeing the cost savings when it comes to these drugs. But we’re hoping that, in the future as more drugs come onto the market, as more therapies come onto the market, that we’ll see more competition.

We’re seeing a lot of change in policy right now that will provide some nice incentives to manufacturers and developers that will hopefully add to that competition and lower costs. And then putting pressure on manufacturers to lower the cost if we can start having these discussions of drug pricing.

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