News | October 6, 2020

IQVIA Institute For Human Data Science Study: Biosimilars Reach Inflection Point – On Track To Reduce Drug Costs By $100B Over Next Five Years


Biosimilar medicine availability and use are growing and on track to reduce drug costs by $100 billion over the next five years, according to a new report from the IQVIA Institute for Human Data Science.

The development and approvals of biosimilars have been accelerating in the U.S. over the past two years, bringing a total of 33 approvals across 13 molecules through Q2 2020. Only 22 of these have launched thus far, due to legal challenges and commercial agreements. An additional 108 biosimilars are in development across 22 other molecules and will potentially reach the U.S. market within the next 10 years.

“Contrary to some predictions, biosimilars are not a failed concept; they are in fact becoming a growing part of affordable treatment options available to payers, physicians and patients,” said Murray Aitken, IQVIA senior vice president and executive director of the IQVIA Institute for Human Data Science. “It is our estimate that biosimilars could reach $80 billion in aggregate sales over the next five years, including $16-36 billion in 2024.”

Recent launches of biosimilar bevacizumab, trastuzumab and rituximab are set to reach nearly 60% volume share by the end of their second year on the market, significantly higher and faster than prior biosimilars. The growing willingness by stakeholders across the U.S. to adopt biosimilars is confounded by an extreme heterogeneity across provider groups where biosimilar usage ranges from 0% to 100%. These differences reflect contracting approaches by manufacturers and providers, and prescriber willingness to adopt biosimilars including the associated issues with changing patient treatment protocols.

A few key highlights of the report include:

  • Savings enabled by the presence of biosimilars are modeled to exceed $100 billion in aggregate over the next five years, though volume and price dynamics remain volatile and significant uncertainty remains.
    • Price declines for biosimilars significantly vary but are in line with prior IQVIA assumptions of roughly 30% discounts. Higher discounts have occurred, for many biosimilars, and an increase in the average discount is possible in the future.
    • The introduction of biosimilars in some cases has triggered 2-4% incremental demand for the molecules, bringing biologic treatments to more patients.
  • Patients benefit from use of biosimilars in the form of lower out-of-pocket costs, depending on their insurance plan design.
    • In the case of insulins, patients with Medicare Part D and commercial insurance are saving an average of about $18 and $13 per prescription, respectively, when using a biosimilar insulin.
    • Patients who are typically responsible for 20% of Medicare Part B costs are benefiting from the lower Average Sales Price of $500-$1,900 for a standard course of treatment for the three most recently launched biosimilars.
  • Large pharmaceutical companies, often with existing innovative biologic portfolios, lead the marketing of biosimilars, while the smaller companies that are developing biosimilars are likely to license products to the larger company for marketing.

The full version of the report, including a detailed description of the methodology, is available at The study was produced independently as a public service, without industry or government funding.

About the IQVIA Institute for Human Data Science
The IQVIA Institute for Human Data Science contributes to the advancement of human health globally through timely research, insightful analysis and scientific expertise applied to granular non-identified patient-level data.

Fulfilling an essential need within healthcare, the Institute delivers objective, relevant insights and research that accelerate understanding and innovation critical to sound decision making and improved human outcomes. With access to IQVIA’s institutional knowledge, advanced analytics, technology and unparalleled data, the Institute works in tandem with a broad set of healthcare stakeholders to drive a research agenda focused on Human Data Science, including government agencies, academic institutions, the life sciences industry and payers. More information about the IQVIA Institute can be found at

IQVIA (NYSE: IQV) is a leading global provider of advanced analytics, technology solutions and contract research services to the life sciences industry. Formed through the merger of IMS Health and Quintiles, IQVIA applies human data science — leveraging the analytic rigor and clarity of data science to the ever-expanding scope of human science — to enable companies to reimagine and develop new approaches to clinical development and commercialization, speed innovation and accelerate improvements in healthcare outcomes. Powered by the IQVIA CORE™, IQVIA delivers unique and actionable insights at the intersection of large-scale analytics, transformative technology and extensive domain expertise, as well as execution capabilities. With approximately 67,000 employees, IQVIA conducts operations in more than 100 countries.

IQVIA is a global leader in protecting individual patient privacy. The company uses a wide variety of privacy-enhancing technologies and safeguards to protect individual privacy while generating and analyzing information on a scale that helps healthcare stakeholders identify disease patterns and correlate with the precise treatment path and therapy needed for better outcomes. IQVIA’s insights and execution capabilities help biotech, medical device and pharmaceutical companies, medical researchers, government agencies, payers and other healthcare stakeholders tap into a deeper understanding of diseases, human behaviors and scientific advances, in an effort to advance their path toward cures. To learn more, visit

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