By Leala Thomas
By 2020 the worldwide market for biologics is expected to exceed $390 billion (up from $46 billion in 2002) and account for 28% of the global pharmaceutical market. As they are developed across a wider range of therapeutic areas, biosimilars will play a more important role by providing a greater choice of treatment options (Aitken 2016).
Worldwide access to biologics is a real issue due to their exorbitant cost. In developing countries with limited resources that primarily focus on fatal diseases, there may not be coverage for biologics for their population. In more than 50% of European countries the annual cost of a biologic exceeds their per capita GDP by up to 11 times.
It is hoped that the development of biosimilars will lead to more competition, and therefore, more accessible, cost-effective treatments. While there are challenges in making biosimilars, the timeline for their development is approximately five years less than that for an originator biologic. Biosimilars can offer cost savings from 10–30% over biologics and their availability allows better access to newer therapies.