The savings potential of biosimilars

8/31/2016

The last two content blocks allowed us to take a closer look at the real-life implication of biosimilars by offering insight into their social repercussions within the context of the therapeutic settings in which they play an active role. The posts that make up this block will provide an in-depth analysis of the economic impact of biosimilars.
 
In this regard, the purpose of this first post is to highlight the potential savings that these medicines offer to national health services.
 
According to the latest data released by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), the incidence of diseases like cancer is expected to rise by 12.6% in Spain between 2012 and 2020. In practice, this will mean fewer resources to treat a growing patient population.
 
A biosimilar can only come onto the market after the patent of the reference medicinal product has expired. Having analysed the US market and the five largest European markets – Germany, France, Italy, the United Kingdom and Spain – the latest IMS Health report states that, by 2020, biosimilars will represent a saving of 98 billion euros.
 
The economic contribution to society of these medicines, which offer equivalent quality, efficacy and safety to their reference products, is already being felt. According to IMS Health, biosimilars cost the Spanish National Health System around 25% less than their original medicinal counterparts, which represents a significant saving in healthcare expenditure.
 
IMS Health further estimates that total sales of biologics in 2017 will account for 15% of the international pharmaceuticals market. Biologics are expected to generate sales in the region of 166 billion dollars (147 billion euros). Latest estimates suggest that biosimilars will yield 20% to 35% savings over their original reference products.
 
In terms of the Spanish market, data compiled by ICEX (Spanish Institute for Foreign Trade) suggests that biosimilars will have a similar impact to the uptake of generics over the past 13 years. Accounting for 38.7% of all sales in Spain, generics have saved the Spanish National Health System 1 billion euros a year.
 
What is more, industry consensus estimates that biosimilars could represent a saving of 1.5 billion euros by 2020, highlighting their potential for ensuring greater sustainability in healthcare provision.
 
The economic impact and savings data alluded to above make biosimilars an attractive option from the perspective of public health expenditure.