Improving Access and Affordability
Biosimilars offer safe and effective treatment options for patients, have the potential to lead to enormous cost savings in healthcare systems and help increase patient access to biologic medicines without reducing the level of care by providing high quality, more affordable treatment alternatives to branded biological products which have lost their exclusivity rights.
The availability of biosimilars increases the access for payors, prescribers as well as for patients suffering from serious and debilitating medical conditions, such as cancer, chronic and autoimmune diseases to life-saving therapies without increasing overall spending. Biosimilar drugs have been approved and have become widely available globally over the last decade and have thereby given physicians and patients new treatment options.
Evidence supporting this notion comes from The Southern Health Care region in Sweden where the increased affordability of biosimilar G-CSF improved patient access to G-CSF and encouraged physicians to more closely adhere to clinical guideline recommendations (Gascon et al, Support Care Cancer (2013)). Furthermore, data from the UK showed that the availability of biosimilar G-CSF resulted in a 13 % increase in overall G-CSF use from 2008 to 2009 and a further 17 % increase from 2009 to 2010. The switching from originator to biosimilar G-CSF was accompanied by a trend towards an increased use of G-CSF as primary prophylaxis (52 % versus 36 % of patients), suggesting an increased willingness to use G-CSF earlier, given its lower cost (Gascon et al, Support Care Cancer (2013)).
Furthermore, the wider use and adoption of biosimilars into the clinical practice will free up healthcare budgets for funding of extra medical research and innovation.