Merck has launched a website targeted at physicians and patients on biosimilar drugs. With Merck gets into the biosimilar market in a big way is this an attempt to quell the concern and does it matter since insurers are going to have a bigger say?
Merck’s website has sections for payers, patients and patients and is supposed to help clarify any confusion around the drugs. The media has already proclaimed biosimilar drugs could save our healthcare system tens of millions of dollars but do patients really care?
Approval of biosimilars can help save costs. Treatment with biologic drugs can cost individuals from $100,000 to $300,000 a year. The Generic Pharmaceutical Association (GPhA) says evidence from several studies suggest that increased entry of biosimilars into the market could save $42 billion to $108 billion over a 10-year period.
Without having any access to research my gut tells me that most patients probably wouldn’t care that drugs they are receiving are biosimilars but I have read some concerns from HCP’s. However, since biosimilars are less expensive insurers, who have an eye on their bottom line, are sure to put all biosimilar drugs as a tier 1 therapy. In other words, cost rules. In fact Pfizer Inc. said it will begin selling a biosimilar version of blockbuster rheumatoid-arthritis treatment Remicade in late November at a 15% discount off the brand-name drug’s list price.