By Anna Rose Welch, Editor, Biosimilar Development
At the upcoming DIA Biosimilars Conference in Bethesda, MD on September 23 and 24, 2019, many passionate biosimilar advocates will be taking the stage to discuss how to improve market access, reimbursement policy, stakeholder education, and the regulatory pathway in the U.S. One of these biosimilar aficionados will be Juliana “Julie” Reed, VP of global corporate affairs, immunology, inflammation, and biosimilars for Pfizer. Prior to the conference, I wanted to catch up with Reed to see what she’s most excited about imparting to attendees and what she hopes to learn from the upcoming conference. As she continues to reiterate here, at a time when the public and the government are striving to see lower healthcare costs, biosimilars are a solution that must not be overlooked.
Welch: You’re speaking on the panel entitled Biosimilars In Practice — Critical Market Opportunities Awaiting to be Seized. What is one topic you’re most excited to discuss during this panel, and why?
Julie Reed: The potential savings biosimilars can bring to patients and taxpayers are so important at a time when the country is asking for lower health care costs. We believe that biosimilars are the second generation of generics and will be critical to creating a competitive landscape that provides patients and taxpayers safe and effective treatments that could lower health care costs.
Welch: What are the company-wide and industry-wide benefits of having a panel on such a topic?
Reed: It’s clear that more needs to be done to support a robust biosimilars market in the U.S. It’s critical to bring together voices across the industry to discuss solutions and potential mechanisms that would increase patient access to these therapies that could reduce health care costs. By incentivizing physicians and reducing patients’ out-of-pocket cost for biosimilars we could help increase the use of options that could lower health care costs and potentially save patients and taxpayers billions over the next decade.
Welch: You will be speaking on the panel with representatives from IQVIA and the FTC. What is one question you’d expect you’ll pose to your panel mates at the conference, and why?
Reed: Usage rates of biosimilars in the U.S. show that biologics continue to monopolize the market as biosimilar uptake has been slow – how will the FTC’s strategy for addressing the anticompetitive practices of biologics manufacturers address this growing monopoly?
Welch: What is the biggest challenge you’re currently facing in your job?
Reed: As patients need relief from rising health care costs, breaking the barriers that are hindering the use of biosimilars – which could lower health care costs – is one of the biggest challenges of my job. Studies have shown that increased biosimilar use can save the U.S. as much at $54 billion over the next decade. Policies made today will determine if the U.S. has a robust biosimilars market in the future.
Welch: Which other panel(s) do you anticipate will be the most helpful in addressing those challenges?
Reed: The New Path to Biosimilar Access and Value to Patients sessions are extremely important. Access is a critical issue for biosimilar usage in the U.S. and understanding the financial and medical benefits of biosimilars will hopefully help increase access moving forward.
To learn more about the upcoming DIA conference taking place in Bethesda, MD on September 23 and 24, be sure to check out the agenda here. I hope to see you there!