Britain's use of copycat biotech drugs takes off while US lags - (Channel News Asia via NewsPoints Desk)

  • The US has trailed the UK in approving and increasing access to biosimilars, as reported Channel News Asia.

  • In the UK, the rapid update of two biosimilars of Roche's Rituxan developed by Celltrion and Novartis has led to discounts of 50 percent to 60 percent, saving NHS 80 million pounds annually.

  • Merck & Co. also recently launched a biosimilar of Roche's Herceptin in the UK under a partnership with Samsung Bioepis.

  • Conversely, FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb to recently complained about "rebating mischief" and a "rigged payment scheme" in describing barriers to biosimilar access in the US.

  • Additionally, a biosimilar of AbbVie's rheumatoid arthritis drug Humira is expected to become available in the UK this year, while approval of a biosimilar of Roche's Avastin is anticipated next year.

  • In the US, Pfizer had filed a lawsuit accusing Johnson & Johnson of offering discounts on Remicade to encourage insurers to exclude its biosimilar version of the drug from coverage.

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