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Dr Sophia Humphreys Speaks on Biosimilars in Formulary Management


Sophia Humphreys, PharmD, MHA, BCBBS, discussed how biosimilars can play a role in formulary management as well as the main takeaways of her presentations at the Newport Beach Institute for Value-Based Care conference.

Sophia Humphreys, PharmD, MHA, BCBBS, spoke about the main takeaways from her panels at the Institute for Value-Based Medicine® (IVBM) conference, including the team approaches and how biosimilars play a role in formulary management.


What role do biosimilars play in formulary management?

As you know, biologic medications spend has increased in the past 5 to 10 years, and they're expected to occupy more of our budget in the near future, because they provide an unmet need for many, many conditions. However, they come with a high price because these are large molecule medications made in living organisms, and majority of them have complicated protein structures so there's no way for us to make an identical copy. So generic products are not available for biologics. However, there are biosimilars. These medications are highly similar to the reference product and has no meaningful clinical differences, from the reference biologic medications. We have seen great savings from biosimilar programs, both for health systems as well as patients. Because when a biosimilar product is 50% of the cost of the reference product, our patient's copay would be much lower compared to the reference product as well.

What were the main takeaways of your presentation held at the IVBM conference?

I'm going to have 2 presentations. One is going to be focused on formulary management, another one is actually focused on biosimilars and our health system financial sustainability. So I would love for our audience to have 2 take-homes. One, there's no set principle for formulary management approach. It takes an entire team and we need to have standardization [and] within the standardization we need to allow flexibility. And also, as we have mentioned, biosimilars will cost much less than reference product, they are highly similar to reference product with no meaningful clinical differences. And they can increase access of care and really help our patients to obtain biologic medication treatment without breaking the bank.

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