Potential savings and contribution to the sustainability of national health systems
There is already some evidence that the reduction in costs achieved with biosimilars, present in the market for more than nine years, is considerable.
The European Association of Generics and Biosimilars, in its Handbook on biosimilars, quotes IMS Health.
The consultancy calculates that national health systems in Europe would save €2 billion a year if they used biosimilars instead of the seven top-selling biological drugs in Europe
Biosimilars have entered into Spanish public healthcare at a price about 25% cheaper than the original drugs, according to IMS Health, which implies a significant saving in healthcare costs,
as these therapies cost at least several thousand euros per treatment.
In relation to the Spanish market, between 2014 and 2020, Spain could save €1.5 billion if it launched and incorporated biosimilars for all biological drugs whose patent expires in this period, according to AESEG.
Regarding the prices of biosimilars, experts indicate that they will be 20-30% cheaper. However calculating the total saving that this implies will depend on the number of biosimilars approved by the authorities and on their degree of penetration.
United States market
In relation to the United States market, a recent report published by Deloitte has shown that the entry of biosimilars into the market will generate savings of between $40 billion and $250 billion in the next 10 years.
In particular, it is expected that the entry of the first biosimilar into the United States will generate savings of $5–7 billion dollars.
Latin American market
There is little overall data for Latin America. As there is no common regulatory body, as is the case in Europe or the United States, the realities of each country are very different.
Nevertheless, the WHO warns that healthcare costs in the region have doubled in barely 10 years, reaching $350 billion in 2012, a phenomenon similar to other regions. The case of Brazil is particularly relevant.
On the other hand, Colombia, which approved its own regulations in September 2014, expects that this will also promote the growth of biosimilars, which will enable the health system to save between 300 and 600 billion pesos (€100-120 million) according to the Colombian Minister of Health, Alejandro Gavia. He also estimated that, in conditions of perfect competition, the cost of drugs could drop between 30% and 60%, which is more than the forecasts for either Europe or the United States.
Brazil and Colombia are two textbook cases in the Latin American market, but other countries will not be left behind.
Increasing accessibility to treatment
National health systems are always searching for systems and mechanisms that enable them to ease their financial situation. Biosimilars create the opportunity to release these resources and to be able to use them for other treatments that do not have “cheap alternatives”.
With the entry of new players into the biosimilars market, and the resulting increase in number of competitors, a reduction in the costs for national health systems, and therefore greater access to therapies, is expected. It is also expected that the competition will reach the area of innovation.
The increase in the number of competitors in the biosimilars market leads to a greater stimulus, from the point of view of innovation, in the European pharmaceutical market, according to the European Association of Generic Medicines in its Handbook.