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US Payers May Acquire Biosimilar Muscle


One only needs to look at Europe to see the future, says a pharmacy expert, who sees the US payer landscape moving to greater biosimilar adoption in 2020.

Zarxio, a filgrastim biosimilar, arrived on the US market in September 2015. An infliximab biosimilar followed in 2016. The United States now has 26 approved biosimilars, of which 17 are on the market and a few dozen more are in the pipeline.

There is a lot of experience with biosimilars in this country already, and as a panel of pharmacy experts stated recently, the market share enjoyed by these products is growing.

“Believe it or not, the market share is about 9% for the entire country. Whereas if you look in Europe, they actually have a market share over 70%,” said Bhavesh Shah, RPh, BCOP, in a Pharmacy Times®—hosted discussion that compared the US market with the more mature European market.

Here vs There

“There’s definitely a better adoption of biosimilars in Europe across the landscape of biosimilars,” said Shah, senior director of specialty and hematology/oncology pharmacy at Boston Medical Center Health System, in Massachusetts.

A key difference is the level of government intervention in the way the markets operate, he noted.

“A lot of their decisions are made at the government level, so it’s much easier when the government says that they’re going to switch everybody in 1 day. In Norway, they basically switched patients from one biosimilar to another multiple times in a year because of contracts. If they have a better contract with a manufacturer [several months later], they’ll actually switch everybody to that biosimilar,” Shah said.

Payers also have more control over the types of agents that are prescribed, he added. In the United States, Kaiser Permanente has had a high degree of success switching patients to biosimilars, and this is a pattern that likely will be continued across the payer community in 2020, Shah said.

For the full story, visit Pharmacy Times®.

Pharmacy Times® and The Center for Biosimilars® share the same parent company, MJH Life Sciences™, the largest privately held, independent, full-service medical media company in North America, dedicated to delivering trusted health care news across multiple channel.

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