HCPs see biosimilars as solution to tackle rising costs: GlobalData

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The healthcare industry continues to face the challenges such as persistent inflation in a post-COVID-19 world. Healthcare professionals (HCPs) believe that biosimilars could provide costs savings for the patients and healthcare systems and their use should be encouraged, according to a survey by GlobalData.

GlobalData survey, “The Impact of Inflation on the Healthcare Sector – Physician Perspective – H1 2023*,” reveals that the majority of physicians thought the use of biosimilars could provide costs savings for the patients and healthcare systems and should be encouraged. The only exception was Japan were physicians seemed to be more reluctant about biosimilar use.

Urte Jakimaviciute, Senior Director of Market Research at GlobalData, comments, “Even though biosimilars for leading reference products are available for the treatment of oncology, hematology, immunology, ophthalmology, as well as cardiovascular and metabolic disorders (CVMD), their uptake differs based on molecule type, geography, existing use of the reference product, disease, and therapy area. For example, until several years ago, Japanese doctors had doubts about the quality of biosimilars and gave preference to branded products instead. Another hindrance is the country’s co-pay system. Under it, patients pay between 10 – 30 per cent of the drug costs and may favor branded products given relatively small price difference.”

On the other hand, European biosimilars market remains highly competitive, where substitution is facilitated by price negotiations between biosimilar manufacturers and local and regional regulatory bodies. There are restrictions and quotas in place mandating all new patients to be placed directly on a biosimilar, while physicians are also required to switch most treatment-experienced patients to biosimilars eventually. Comparably, in the US, biosimilar substitution has been weaker.

Jakimaviciute continues, “In September 2022, EMA and Heads of Medicines Agencies (HMA) established EU-wide policy position on biosimilar substitution for biological reference medicines or equivalent biosimilars, confirming that all biosimilar medicines approved in the EU should be regarded as switchable with other approved biosimilar medicines referencing the originator biologic and the reference biologic, which may be associated with relatively favorable physicians’ attitude towards the use of biosimilars in Europe.”

Although China approved its first biosimilar only in 2019, its biosimilars market started to thrive. Across surveyed countries, China had the highest percentage of physicians (92 per cent) who believed that the use of biosimilars should be promoted in their country.

Jakimaviciute concludes, “China stimulated its biosimilars market through the introduction of new legislation and regulations by the Chinese regulatory authority – the National Medical Products Administration (NMPA). In 2015, the NMPA released the first guidelines for an established biosimilar pathway within China; in contrast the EU implemented the first-ever regulatory pathway for biosimilars in 2006.”

*A total of 568 healthcare professionals across geographies – the US, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, the UK, China and Japan – participated in a survey, which was fielded from January 2023–May 2023

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