Biosimilars pharmaceuticals have long claimed to bring down the price of some of the most expensive cutting-edge drugs. Has that happened?
According to Analysis
According to a recent RAND Corporation analysis, the adoption of biosimilar medications may result in lower costs for treatments for rheumatoid arthritis and cancer. This is with savings predicted to total $38.4 billion, or 5.9% of the total projection for U.S. spending on biologics from 2021 to 2025.
However, if employed more aggressively, the usage of biosimilars might result in savings of up to $124.5 billion from 2021 to 2025. Though that is the most optimistic outlook, according to a paper in the American Journal of Managed Care.
RAND researchers note the reduced biosimilar prices. But the majority of the anticipated savings from biosimilars would come from competitive pressure on the name-brand biologics with which they compete.
Lead author Andrew W. Mulcahy, Ph.D. is a senior policy researcher at the non-profit research organization RAND. He said that biosimilars have the potential to reduce spending on biological medications. This makes up a rapidly growing portion of overall U.S. prescription drug spending.
According to the article, biologics comprise insulin, monoclonal antibodies that reduce rheumatoid arthritis inflammation, and a variety of medications. These are for the treatment of multiple sclerosis, cancer, and other serious illnesses. They represented only 2% of prescriptions written in the United States in 2017 but 37% of net expenditures on prescription medications, according to the authors.
Biosimilars – Less Expensive Treatment Options
In terms of intensity, safety, and effectiveness, biosimilars are comparable to already-approvable “reference” biologics. Though, they come from different businesses. Although they are not identical copies of the original biologic drug, biosimilar medications are highly similar to it. Yet, biosimilars cost less and deliver clinical results that are comparable to those of the original biologic.
Generic medicines and biosimilars have been contrasted. These many drugs do differ from one another in a number of significant ways, though. Generic drugs are exact replicas of the original pharmaceutical product, sharing the same name and active ingredient. On the other hand, biosimilars function similarly to the original biologic drugs despite not being perfect replicas of the original drug.
All biosimilar drugs must have FDA approval for their efficacy and safety. Existing state rules demand that a doctor or other healthcare provider specifically prescribe biosimilars for you. If switching medications from a biologic to a biosimilar is financially advantageous for the patient, pharmacists may one day permit them to do so.
While patients in Europe have had access to biosimilars for almost ten years, they are still relatively new in the United States. Biosimilars have the potential to cut drug prices. They save the healthcare system billions of money. Also, they give patients access to less expensive treatment options. In the foreseeable future, additional biosimilars will likely emerge.
The future of biosimilars shows potential as healthcare moves away from a fee-for-service model of delivery. Biosimilars are positioned to be crucial in value-based care since they can improve access and cut costs. They may prove to be an important tool in reducing financial toxicity. Also, they preserve the quality of care and extend limited healthcare resources as an increasing share of the escalating cost of healthcare. The answer that everyone is looking for may lie in maximizing the benefits that biosimilars provide to the medical industry.