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NHS says Humira biosimilar deal will save £300m

AbbVie also submitted a bid into tender process

Humira

Hospitals in England will see their £400m annual spend on AbbVie’s Humira slashed by around 75% over the next three years, thanks to a commissioning deal with five biosimilar manufacturers.

NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens said the new deal would save £300m between now and 2021, the largest reduction ever negotiated involving a single drug, and is enough to “pay for 11,700 more community nurses or 19,800 more breast cancer treatments for patients.”

Humira (adalimumab) is a TNF blocker used to treat inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis and inflammatory bowel disease, and is currently the world’s top-selling medicine, adding more than $18bn to AbbVie’s top-line last year - mostly in the US but with around $6bn from the rest of the world and mostly from Europe.

On average, the savings from this one deal deliver around a third of NHS England’s target of carving £300m off its annual medicines bill by 2021. The procurement deal comes around a month after biosimilar copies of Humira started to roll out in Europe, after the brand’s European patent expired bringing its market exclusivity to an end.

Amgen’s copy Amgevita and Samsung and Biogen’s Imraldi both gained full EU approval last year, and have been joined since by Hyrimoz from Novartis’ Sandoz division, Boehringer Ingelheim’s Cyltezo and Mylan’s Hulio, the latter sublicensed from Japan’s Fujifilm Kyowa Kirin.

NHS England says it has accepted bids from four companies – Amgen, Biogen, Mylan and Sandoz – as well as AbbVie. The biosimilars should be available to patients in December, and Humira may continue to be used “where clinically appropriate or where it is the best value.”

Nine out of 10 patients are however expected to now start on a biosimilar, with 80% of the estimated 46,000 people already on treatment with Humira switching to a lower-cost option within 12 months.

Simon Stevens

NHS England's Simon Stevens

“Harnessing the power of competition between drug companies, NHS England has now freed up hundreds of millions of pounds of savings to reinvest in patient care,” said Stevens.

“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 United States,” he added.

Europe’s biosimilar market is thriving but the situation is very different in the US. Earlier this year, FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb slammed the tactics used by biologic drug developers to block the launch of biosimilar competition, saying the approach has robbed US patients of billions of dollars in savings.

His remarks came after the introduction of a new initiative intended to improve the efficiency of biosimilar development and approvals. At the time, just three of 11 biosimilars approved by the FDA had actually reached the market.

27th November 2018

From: Sales

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