NHS England said Monday that it negotiated deals with drugmakers on biosimilar versions of AbbVie's Humira (adalimumab), potentially leading to annual savings of 300 million pounds ($385 million). Simon Stevens, NHS England's chief executive, noted "by working with patients and frontline clinicians we've now successfully negotiated the biggest ever set of savings on what was the NHS' most costly drug."
According to NHS England, hospitals currently pay more than 400 million pounds ($514 million) each year for Humira, which is used to treat conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease and psoriasis. However, last month, Amgen and Novartis became the first companies to launch biosimilar versions of the product in Europe, under the respective brands Amgevita and Hyrimoz. Other biosimilar versions of Humira approved in the EU include Samsung Bioepis' Imraldi, and Mylan and Fujifilm Kyowa Kirin Biologics' Hulio.
NHS England noted that is "has moved swiftly to drive strong competition between biosimilar manufacturers and the manufacturer of the originator brand, resulting in huge cost discounts." NHS England indicated that it has now accepted bids from Amgen, Biogen, Mylan/Fujifilm Kyowa and Novartis' Sandoz unit, as well as from AbbVie, with biosimilar versions of Humira expected to be available to NHS patients in December. "This is another example of how the smarter approach to biosimilar medicines in the UK and Europe gives patients and taxpayers a much better deal than they get in the [US]," Stevens remarked.
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