In a late April article, Regulatory Focus reports that biosimilars continue to take hold in countries across the European Union faster than the U.S. and Canadian markets.
As an example, Keith Ridge, chief pharmaceutical officer at NHS England, told attendees of the 16th annual Biosimilar Medicines Conference in London that the UK has seen increasing uptake of rituximab, infliximab and etanercept biosimilars. A biosimilar for infliximab, which came to market in March 2015 is now used by about 80% of patients on the medicine in the UK.
The uptake in biosimilars is particularly high in London according to Ridge and is being driven by government efforts to achieve cost savings. Ridge estimated the pending Humira (adalimumab) biosimilars, which are hitting the UK market this fall, will save the country £100 million ($140 million) per year. Approval of adalimumab biosimilars in the U.S. are not expected until 2023.
Nine biosimilars are approved for use in the U.S., but just three have come to market and the market share of only one biosimilar has been substantial. Participants at the Biosimilar Medicines Conference noted there are fewer incentives for payers and insurers to help encourage a shift to biosimilars in the U.S. Carol Lynch, president of Sandoz U.S., said she thought patent litigation is currently the biggest hurdle to biosimilar access in the U.S.
E.U. nations have other advantages for the adoption of biosimilars, but patient communication and explanation is a constant hurdle for biosimilar usage.