The emergence of biosimilars in the marketplace promotes economic stability and enhances patient access to biological therapies while also providing more than economic benefits, according to a review published in Bio Drugs.
Biosimilars are typically launched at a discounted price which consequently spurs the reduction in cost of biologics. The decrease in price frees resources without sacrificing quality, which equates to a net positive effect on healthcare sustainability. A significant advantage of these drops lies in the potential of resource redistribution, permitting augmented patient access to biologics. Subsequently, these reallocated funds can be used to ameliorate health care services, or institute biologic therapies at an earlier stage, which as the author notes, “may likely apply to patients with lesser disease severities, conceivably altering long-term treatment paradigms.”
The value of biosimilars goes beyond price point. The immense structural and functional analysis of biologic originators necessary to manufacturer biosimilars has provided scientists with a greater depth of understanding of the molecular and functional properties that comprise biologics. Moreover, the commercial availability of biosimilars attenuates the risk of medication shortages in the healthcare marketplace as they provide additional versions of their referenced originators. Additionally, biologics benefit patients who are denied biologic treatment, as said patients may qualify for enrollment in biosimilar clinical trials.
Furthermore, biosimilars catalyze marketplace competition as competing drug manufacturers are forced to lower costs of referenced biologics to equal biosimilar levels. However, when biologic prices drop, biosimilars lose their economic leverage, and the prescription of biologics s trends to prevail. To combat the temporary price decrease of biologics, many institutions have advocated for biosimilar incentive policies that would “foster healthy competition and sustainable pricing,” according to the author. The review further noted a grace period for newly launched biosimilars may inspire fairness in competition, and that such a balance is vital for the long-term tenability of biosimilars.
“Healthcare systems in many jurisdictions provide universal coverage, but the economic implications of therapeutic decisions cannot be ignored,” the author wrote in his conclusion. “Sustainability demands that clinical judgements be tempered in part by cost restraints. Whereas the merit of original biologics is unquestioned, biosimilars contribute principally to the sustainability of healthcare systems so that present and future patients are properly served.”