Article: Breaking policy and perceptual barriers: Biosimilars

Rachel Howard & Brett Gardiner, June 2020

Pharmaphorum Deep Dive

Our specialist market access and Therapy Watch teams analyse RA prescribing data to identify how market access policies across Europe may have impacted the adoption of biosimilars. Read our latest article for pharmaphorum's Deep Dive.Breaking policy and perceptual barriers Biosimilars

Biologics are big business in Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA), with the first wave of TNF inhibitors Remicade (infliximab), Enbrel (etanercept) and Humira (adalimumab) all having achieved blockbuster sales since their launches in the early 2000s.

In recent years, as patents started to expire, an increasing number of branded and generic pharmaceutical companies have launched biosimilars, offering meaningful discounts relative to the originators – an appealing proposition for strained healthcare systems under pressure to contain costs.

Leveraging over two years of syndicated RA Therapy Watch data* from September 2017-December 2019 in France, Germany, UK, Italy, and Spain, we looked into what parallels could be drawn between country trends in biosimilar prescribing and individual market policies designed to promote their use.

Linking the implementation of policies to changes in the prescribing reality allowed us to compare the effectiveness of different policy instruments at achieving their objectives of realising the potential cost-savings associated with the prescribing of biosimilars over originators.

This leads us to consider what strategies originator manufacturers can employ to break the policy barriers to ensure continued patient access to their branded biologics, and what biosimilar manufacturers can do to break the perceptual barriers to switching to their (potentially) more cost-effective products.

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