June 27, 2024

Biosimilars have now been available in the U.S. for many years. The first biosimilar approved under the abbreviated pathway established by the Biologics Price Competition and Innovation Act launched in the U.S. in March of 2015 as Zarxio (filgrastim-sndz) a biosimilar to Amgen’s Neupogen.

Realties of the Biosimilar Landscape

Since then, more than 50 biosimilars have been approved by the FDA. Many more are slated for the near future. However, FDA approval and market launch are two very different things. Once FDA-approved, the manufacturer must also navigate the potential legal hurdles that are erected by the brand manufacturer prior to releasing their product into the market. These legal hurdles may take months or years to resolve.

The market share and associated savings from biosimilars on the pharmacy benefit has been an interesting thing to watch over the past couple of years. This led to a slower-than-desired market shift.

A recent Reuters headline hits home on the slow market shift: Despite Introduction of Biosimilars, Humira Holds Onto 80% of Patients

Strategy Considerations

Below is a chart published by IQVIA. It shows the 5-year savings potential for biosimilars. Plan sponsors’ ability to take an aggressive approach to this category will dictate whether their savings line is at the lower end of the shaded area (less aggressive) or the higher end (more aggressive).

Where Should Plan Sponsors Go from Here?

Knowing how to effectively navigate the biosimilar market is a key to future savings and maintaining these savings into the future. Innovative Rx Strategies, as a pharmacist-driven consulting firm, can guide payers through the process to more tightly manage their pharmacy benefit. We can help you take advantage of the significant savings associated with these drugs. If you have any questions about biosimilar strategy, or any element of your pharmacy benefit, one of our pharmacists would be glad to help. Just click the link below this post to reach out.

Additional Resources: Be sure to attend Behind the Curtain: Biosimilars — a pharmacist led webinar on July 10, 2024. Get an in-depth look at biosimilars and the landscape of this category. Click here to learn more.

Reach out to our team