Biologics are produced by a complex process involving living organisms. They have revolutionized the treatment and prevention of many disabling and life-threatening diseases: diabetes, psoriasis, arthritis, growth disorders, inflammatory digestive disorders and certain types of cancer.
However, biologics are driving the rising cost of healthcare, and this may restrict access to life-saving treatment.
The prospect of more affordable options that are safe and effective opens up opportunities for health systems to expand access to biologics for more patients, free up resources for investment in new areas, and bring relief to pressured healthcare budgets.
Biosimilars are follow-on medicines of existing biologics (also known as ‘reference biologics’) when the patent has expired.
To be approved for use, a biosimilar has to be shown to be equivalent to the reference product in terms of safety and beneficial effects in patients. This is done using advanced analytical, pre-clinical and clinical trials.
Depending on policies and systems implemented by countries’ healthcare authorities, biosimilar medicines have the potential to address access challenges faced by patients, generate cost savings for healthcare systems and increase treatment options for healthcare professionals (HCPs).
Benefit to patients
The introduction of affordable, high-quality biosimilars improves access to life-changing medicines for patients worldwide
The EU saw a 47% increase in patient access to Granulocyte-Colony Stimulating Factor (G-CSF) between 2006 and 2015, following the introduction of biosimilars1
Benefit to payors
Biosimilars make biological medicines more affordable and introduce competition which delivers savings for healthcare systems, helping to liberate resources that can be used to improve care and fund next-generation medicines
Cumulative savings over the next five years (2016-2021) in the EU5* and the US combined could range from EUR 49 billion to EUR 98 billion2
Benefit to HCPs
Introduction of biosimilars drives competition, resulting in increased treatment options and value-added services to support patient care and the healthcare community
Between 2016 and 2020, 225 new active substances are set to come to market worldwide, with 30% expected to be biological2. Introduction of biosimilars will generate savings that can facilitate the adoption of the new biologics.