Regulatory and cost barriers are likely to limit biosimilar development and expected savings in the near future.

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2014-06

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Abstract

In March 2010 Congress established an abbreviated Food and Drug Administration approval pathway for biosimilars-drugs that are very similar but not identical to a reference biological product and cost less. Because bringing biosimilars to the market currently requires large investments of money, fewer biosimilars are expected to enter the biologics market than has been the case with generic drugs entering the small-molecule drug market. Additionally, given the high regulatory hurdles to obtaining interchangeability-which would allow pharmacists to substitute a biosimilar for its reference product, subject to evolving state substitution laws-most biosimilars will likely compete as therapeutic alternatives instead of as therapeutic equivalents. In other words, biosimilars will need to compete with their reference product on the basis of quality; price; and manufacturer's reputation with physicians, insurers, and patient groups. Biosimilars also will face dynamic competition from new biologics in the same therapeutic class-including "biobetters," which offer incremental improvements on reference products, such as extended duration of action. The prospects for significant cost savings from the use of biosimilars appear to be limited for the next several years, but their use should increase over time because of both demand- and supply-side factors.

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10.1377/hlthaff.2013.0862

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Grabowski, Henry G, Rahul Guha and Maria Salgado (2014). Regulatory and cost barriers are likely to limit biosimilar development and expected savings in the near future. Health Aff (Millwood), 33(6). pp. 1048–1057. 10.1377/hlthaff.2013.0862 Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/12741.

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Grabowski

Henry G. Grabowski

Professor Emeritus of Economics

Professor Grabowski specializes in the investigation of economics in the pharmaceutical industry, government regulation of business, and the economics of innovation. His specific interests within these fields include intellectual property and generic competition issues, the effects of government policy actions, and the costs and returns to pharmaceutical R&D. He has over one hundred peer reviewed articles analyzing the economics of pharmaceuticals and also several books and monograph publications. Professor Grabowski has testified several times before Congress on the issues of FDA regulation, health care reform, drug innovation and generic competition and vaccine policies. He has received numerous awards and professional recognition including a special issue of essays published in his honor in 2011 in the International Journal of the Economics of Business. He also has served as an advisor to various government and business organizations, including the National Academy of Sciences, the Institute of Medicine, the Office of Technology Assessment, the Federal Trade Commission, and the General Accounting Office. The US Congress has recognized the significant role that a paper he published with Duke colleagues David Ridley and Jeff Moe had in the passage of legislation that incentivized development of new therapies for neglected diseases through the creation of priority review vouchers.


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