December 30th 2017
Annual spending on biologic medications has been on the rise. It is estimated that biologic drugs, defined as complex, protein-based, large-molecule compounds designed to treat complicated disease states, accounted for $200 billion to $210 billion of global spending on medicines in 2016.1,2 With such rises in healthcare spending, it is important to consider the economic implications and potential of adopting effective cost-saving measures wherever possible. Biosimilars can offer an opportunity in terms of cost-saving potential, with an estimated potential of $44.2 billion in savings in biologic drug spending in the United States from 2014 to 2024.3 The cost savings could ultimately provide huge benefits to patients, healthcare providers, and all payers involved in the healthcare system, which is especially important in an era of rapidly rising healthcare costs.3
A biosimilar is a biological product that is approved for use based on chemical, molecular, and structural similarities to an already approved biological drug, known as the reference drug or originator product.2 According to the FDA, a biosimilar must show no clinically significant differences in its efficacy and safety profile in comparison with its reference product.4 The introduction of biosimilars into the pharmaceutical market has lowered medication costs while also allowing expanded »
patient access to new treatments.5 One example in which the economic and facilitative impact of biosimilars can be seen is the granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF) market; there were notable changes in the cost and accessibility of the medication class after the introduction of biosimilars.