Norwegian study hopes to increase biosimilars uptake in Europe Posted 06/12/2013

Despite the fact that many countries within Europe are tightening its health budget, the uptake of lower-cost biosimilars is still relatively low in Europe.

In a report by the European Commission’s (EC’s) Enterprise and Industry Directorate-General it was found that the market share of biosimilars in European Members States, plus Norway and Switzerland, was only 11% [1].

In order to alter this trend and to try and increase the uptake of biosimilars, the Norwegian Medicines Agency is funding clinical studies in which patients will be switched from originator biological drugs to biosimilars in order to reassure physicians that the biosimilar versions are just as good.

The Norwegian studies are planned to take place in 2014 and will compare Johnson & Johnson’s and Merck’s rheumatoid arthritis blockbuster Remicade (infliximab) to Celltrion’s new biosimilar Remsima (infliximab). Remicade had sales of more than US$2 billion in Europe during 2012, giving scope for significant savings.

Despite Norway being a tiny market, having only five million inhabitants, the studies could improve physicians’ perception of biosimilars and are therefore being watched closely. Norway, along with Finland, Ireland, Portugal and Eastern Europe, are one of the first markets where Remsima will be launched. The launch of the biosimilar infliximab in other major European markets is being delayed until early 2015 due to patent issues.

A study by the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES) of eight European Union countries (France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Romania, Spain, Sweden and UK), found that by 2020, expected savings for biosimilars would range from Euros 11.8 billion to Euros 33.4 billion. This corresponds to savings of 5.2% to 14.6% of the estimated expenditures in the selected countries [2].

Related articles

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EU publishes consensus report on biosimilars

References

1.  GaBI Online - Generics and Biosimilars Initiative. Use of biosimilars in Europe [www.gabionline.net]. Mol, Belgium: Pro Pharma Communications International; [cited 2013 Dec 6]. Available from: www.gabionline.net/Reports/Use-of-biosimilars-in-Europe

2.  GaBI Online - Generics and Biosimilars Initiative. Saving money in the European healthcare system with biosimilars [www.gabionline.net]. Mol, Belgium: Pro Pharma Communications International; [cited 2013 Dec 6]. Available from: www.gabionline.net/Biosimilars/Research/Saving-money-in-the-European-healthcare-system-with-biosimilars

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