Biosimilars a Big Cost Saver, RAND Study Finds

The study by Andrew Mulcahy, a policy researcher at the RAND Corporation, found that the predicted $44 billion saving to the US healthcare system over the next decade, would depend on FDA decisions on newer biosimilar drug candidates.

Introducing competing “biosimilar” versions of complex biologic drugs used to treat illnesses such as cancer and rheumatoid arthritis could cut spending on biologics in the United States by $44 billion over the next decade, according to new analysis from the RAND Corporation.

While biologics have advanced medical treatment for many conditions, they often are expensive and patient copays for some biologics can be several thousand dollars per year. In 2011, 8 of the top 20 drugs in the United States in terms of sales were biologics and the annual spending on the drugs has grown 3 times faster than other prescription medications.

The FDA is developing regulations to govern the approval process for highly similar versions of the already-approved complex, protein-based biologics, which includes drugs such as insulin, monoclonal antibodies and a range of medications to treat other serious conditions.

Complete press release by the RAND Corportation: