Biosimilar drugs could
save up to $110 billion by 2020: IMS
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[March 29, 2016]
LONDON (Reuters) - Lower-cost copies
of complex biotech drugs, known as biosimilars, could save the United
States and Europe's five top markets as much as 98 billion euros ($110
bln) by 2020, a new analysis showed on Tuesday.
Realizing those savings, however, depends on effective doctor
education and healthcare providers adopting smart market access
strategies, the report by IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics
The potential for copycats to take business from original biotech
brands is increasingly grabbing the attention of investors, with
many worried about the impact on profits at companies like Roche and
It also presents an opportunity for an emerging group of biosimilar
specialists, such as South Korea's Celltrion and large generic
drugmakers with biotech know-how, like Novartis' unit Sandoz.
A saving of 98 billion euros is based on eight major branded biotech
drugs, including AbbVie's Humira and Roche's Herceptin, that are set
to lose patent protection over the next five years.
It also assumes an average biosimilar price discount of 40 percent,
and savings would fall to 74 billion euros at a 30 percent discount
and 49 billion at 20 percent.
The IMS forecast covers Germany, France, Italy, Britain, Spain and
the United States.
Interest in biosimilars has grown significantly in the past two
years thanks to the arrival of copies of sophisticated antibody
drugs that are among the world's biggest-selling prescription
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Europe has lengthy experience with biosimilars, having approved the
first such products 10 years ago, but uptake still varies widely
from country to country, depending on local market conditions.
IMS said Germany had been particularly successful in stimulating
biosimilar prescribing, while Austria, by contrast, had prompted
some suppliers to pull out by insisting on mandatory price
reductions for certain biosimilars.
(Reporting by Ben Hirschler; Editing by Susan Fenton)
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