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Influence of local policy measures and practices on biosimilar/originator market dynamics in Germany

In Europe, the individual Member States are responsible for designing policies that regulate the market entry and use of pharmaceuticals. This decentralized approach has been found to contribute to variations in biosimilar uptake across countries, and even within countries, as was investigated for tumour necrosis factor-alfa (TNF-α) inhibitor biosimilars in Sweden [1, 2]. In Germany, biosimilar market shares are also known to vary at the regional level. This was studied by Blankart et al. for erythropoiesis-stimulating substances, filgrastim and somatropin, and variations in biosimilar market shares were partly attributed to the presence of explicit regional cost-control measures, such as quota regulations [3]. Differences in the uptake of biosimilars have also been described in Germany for the class of TNF-α inhibitors, although reasons behind this variable uptake have not been examined in detail [4].

Positive phase III results for sintilimab plus copy biological Byvasda

Chinese biopharmaceutical firm Innovent Biologics (Innovent) announced on 23 November 2020 positive results for its copy bevacizumab biological Byvasda (IBI-305) in combination with sintilimab.

Regulatory challenges with biosimilars

The World Health Organization (WHO) Expert Committee on Biological Standardization adopted guidelines for biosimilars at its 60th meeting in October 2009 [1]. Since then, according to authors from regulatory bodies across the globe, WHO ‘has provided considerable effort toward helping member states implement the evaluation principles in the guidelines into their regulatory practices’.

More national guidance needed on biosimilars in Europe

A poster presented at the Virtual ISPOR (International Society for Pharmacoeconomics and Outcomes Research) 2020 conference outlines the importance of regulatory guidance on biosimilar medicines in Europe.

Phase I study comparing SB8 with reference bevacizumab

SB8, developed by Samsung Bioepis, was approved as a biosimilar of the reference product Avastin (bevacizumab) by the European Commission in August 2020 with the brand name of Aybintio [1]. The objective of this phase I study was to compare the pharmacokinetics, safety, tolerability and immunogenicity between SB8 and the European Union (EU) and United States (US) reference products (bevacizumab-EU and bevacizumab-US).

Scientific, legal and regulatory challenges facing biosimilars development

Abbreviated approval pathways for biosimilars – biological products that are highly similar to an originator biological with regard to quality, safety and efficacy [1, 2] – were created to foster competition and lower prices for biological treatments. However, these desired effects have not materialized as quickly as expected in either the US or the European Union.

Safety monitoring for immune-modulating biologicals

A study of adverse events among patients with autoimmune disease identifies numerous cases of serious infection. The study also demonstrates the ability of the Biologics and Biosimilars Collective Intelligence Consortium (BBCIC) to function as a surveillance platform [1].

Real-world data on biosimilars in inflammatory arthritis treatment

The use of biologicals in patients with rheumatic diseases has achieved the therapeutic target, i.e. remission or low disease activity. The share of biologicals has been growing with the approval of biosimilars, which have been recognized for their equivalent efficacy, safety, pharmacokinetics and immunogenicity to the originator, as well as their reduced economic burden.

Study reveals wide variation in US state drug product substitution laws

A new study, published in JAMA Internal Medicine [1], has revealed substantial variation in the drug product substitution rules for pharmacists across states in the US. 

Asia Pacific countries: future demand for biosimilars

The prevalence of chronic diseases like diabetes, cancer and rheumatoid arthritis have been increasing globally, resulting in an ever-growing need for biologicals that are affordable and accessible in the Asia Pacific countries (APAC). Biosimilars are ‘similar’ versions of approved and authorized biological medicines that are already on the market. They typically sell at discounts ranging from 20% to 35% when compared to the reference product [1]. It is expected that introduction of biosimilars into the global markets will erode the total sales of biologicals by as much as 54% through 2022 [2]. Various regulatory bodies such as the European Medicines Agency (EMA), the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the World Health Organization (WHO) actively regulate development and commercialization of biosimilars.

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