Peter Jørgensen, director of the Industrial Association for Generic and Biosimilar Medicines, Denmark, addresses whether challenges lie ahead for biosimilars in Denmark.
In Denmark, we believe in science, and as I said, Humira has been wiped off the Danish hospital shelves.
I was attending a conference of Medicines for Europe about a month ago, and people were asking what is the biggest obstacle—all the participants were being asked what is the biggest obstacle to introducing biosimilars into, I think it was the European market. I didn't say this, but funnily enough the 2 answers people gave were AbbVie and Roche. That was quite significant; I mean, I think that people might have been thinking along those lines, but expressing it so freely and so clearly at an international conference, where, you know, 10 minutes after it was all over the social media.
I don't think that is going to be a challenge in Denmark. It might be a challenge in other countries in Europe where you have incentive systems that do not always make it better to use biosimilars; I mean, some doctors would continue to prescribe the branded product because they make more money on that, and maybe the companies can, you know, the originators can do their magic and create patent problems or whatever.
Fortunately, so far, that hasn’t seemed to be the case in Denmark. We’ve had discussions with patient organizations, of course, which is completely legitimate. Sometimes, we have been able to detect that behind the patient's organizations, there was a helping hand, if you will, from some of the big companies who had a lot of financial interest at stake, and were quite willing to supply patient organizations with critical questions like “Why don't we have more clinical tests? Do we really have enough information? Shouldn't we just wait and see?” and stuff like that, which was clearly in opposition to the rapid introduction of biosimilars.
But as I said, it didn't really seem to have very much effect, and I don't think it will in the future. Biosimilars in Denmark are a huge success, and there's no reason to see why that should change.