Future is in doubt for cheaper versions of biologic drugs - (This is Money via NewsPoints Desk)

  • Experts have questioned the future of biosimilars in the US given their slow sales and smaller than expected discounts, as reported This Is Money Thursday.

  • Leigh Purvis, AARP's director of health services research, suggested that the original biologic drugmakers "could kill this market before it ever takes off, and we desperately need it."

  • While 54 biosimilars are available in Europe at discounts of 80%, only 11 of 24 FDA-approved biosimilars have reached the market, and the discounts range from 15% to 35%.

  • Additionally, biosimilars for the five best-selling biologics in the US, namely Humira, Enbrel, Herceptin, Rituxan and Avastin, have yet to reach the market due to litigation and patent disputes.

  • Earlier this year, the FDA issued guidelines to allow biosimilar manufacturers to demonstrate that their products are interchangeable with the biologics, which would allow pharmacists to substitute biosimilars for biologics as currently done for generics.

  • Meanwhile, Steve Brozak, president of WBB Securities, predicted that another financial downturn and a surge in the number of uninsured patients will be required before the government takes major action to boost the availability and sale of biosimilars.

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