ISPOR, the professional society for health economics and outcomes research (HEOR), recently held its annual conference, which brought together nearly 4,000 researchers, regulators, payers, drug developers, providers, and other stakeholders from across the healthcare continuum. During one panel session, experts in biosimilar regulatory, legal, and reimbursement discussed the crucial elements needed to foster a robust and sustainable U.S. biosimilars marketplace over the long term.
During our conversation about the FDA’s most recent comparability guidance, I picked one USP expert's brain about the challenges of establishing a biosimilar analytical development program, as well as why certain types of data may be more difficult to come by than others. These challenges are responsible for further complicating the question about which types of data are still necessary, and why.
In this first of what will be a two-part article, USP's Fouad Atouf highlights the challenges presented by the FDA’s newest guidance while remaining optimistic that the large amount of data recommended today will open doors to more efficient development in the (hopefully) near future.
Despite the importance of the process the FDA is outlining in the guidance, I’ve surprisingly heard little chatter — positive or negative — about what the agency is now outlining and what this may mean for biosimilars and the biosimilar regulatory paradigm moving forward. Here are a couple of the biggest takeaways to note.
I particularly enjoyed a conversation amongst a panel of physicians at a recent conference, several of whom elaborated upon the value increased use of biosimilars can bring to the table — both for patients and physicians. And though savings and access are main goals, physicians also see another critical benefit of greater biosimilar use.
The debate on drug pricing is raising questions about why U.S. patients pay some of the highest fees in the world to access prescription medicines. Politicians are putting manufacturers of insulins under particular scrutiny.
In recent years there has been growing, bipartisan support to address the perceived high cost of biologic drugs. Indeed, recent estimates are that biologic drugs account for approximately 40 percent of all U.S. pharmaceutical sales and 70 percent of drug spending growth between 2010 and 2015.
Reading through the two versions of the guidance, I had a few thoughts about some of these changes, which led me to reflect more broadly on their impact on the biosimilar regulatory and development sphere.
Overall, four talking points arose during the presentations that I felt were worthy of briefly singling out. Many of these points touch on the broader discussions happening in the biosimilar sphere, including tailored development, interchangeability, immunogenicity, device innovation, and overall patient and provider education.
Since 2004, biosimilars markets and their regulation have been evolving with the rise of two powerhouses: Europe and the US. How does the rise of the China biosimilars market fit this established picture?
Here, I’ll discuss some of the current physician knowledge gaps in the different therapeutic areas. Similarly, I’ll delve into the discussions surrounding what educational strategies and guidelines may be needed on the hospital or national level to improve physicians’ and patients’ relationships with biosimilars.
Biosimilar Development recently hosted a webinar on U.S. biosimilar policies with Frier Levitt Government Affairs expert, Ron Lanton. Here are several questions that came up during the webinar about the impact proposed or current policies may have in the future.
On March 5, 2019, Representative Anna Eshoo (D-CA) introduced H.R. 1520, the “Purple Book Continuity Act of 2019.” The bill addresses the availability of information about approved biological products that may support the development of biosimilar products. It has five cosponsors in the House, drawn from both sides of the aisle, and was considered with five other bills by the House Energy and Commerce Committee on April 3, 2019. The Committee advanced the bill, along with five others, as a step toward addressing runaway drug pricing.
On Feb. 6, 2019 the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) officially proposed the rebate rule known as the “Fraud and Abuse; Removal of Safe Harbor Protection for Rebates Involving Prescription Pharmaceuticals and Creation of New Safe Harbor Protection for Certain Point-of-Sale Reductions in Price on Prescription Pharmaceuticals and Certain Pharmacy Benefit Manager Service Fees.”
Whether it be pointing out specific unmet needs in IBD or suggesting meaningful educational materials for patients, one patient advocate delivered great examples of how manufacturers can support patient advocates and provide them with the information they need most today.
In this first of two articles, an advocate from the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation shares details about the Foundation’s ongoing initiatives in terms of educating physicians, as well as what can be done to better understand and improve physicians’ biologics and biosimilar prescribing practices.
Within the last few years, the FDA has taken steps to approve more biosimilar products and has committed to providing for a competitive landscape. The three latest biosimilars to be approved by the FDA have all been biosimilars to Herceptin. Further, Pfizer’s Trazimera, the most recently approved trastuzumab biosimilar, has sparked intrigue. As a result, Genentech is bracing for Herceptin biosimilar commercial launches in 2019.
Since 2012, patent stakeholders in the U.S. have faced remarkable uncertainty in the evaluation of patent subject matter eligibility under 35 U.S.C. 101, particularly in the application of the Supreme Court’s Alice/Mayo1 test by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).
I found myself puzzled, to say the least, by a recent editorial intriguingly entitled “Biosimilars Are A Distraction.” What I ended up reading were several questionable economic and clinical claims I feel are worth dissecting.
After roughly four years of writing about biosimilars, I can finally say I attended the Annual Biosimilar Medicines Conference. This conference was valuable to get a closer look at Europe as well, not only to see where things are working, but also where they're not.
About 12 years ago, while working at a group purchasing organization (GPO), I had my first conversations with pharma/biotech companies about the possibility of developing and launching biosimilar drugs. Part of my role at the GPO was related to tracking and commenting on policies CMS and the FDA were developing.
The U.S. FDA issued an updated draft guidance on March 7 on the nonproprietary naming of biologics, titled Nonproprietary Naming of Biological Products: Update. This update is the FDA’s second attempt at a policy for nonproprietary name suffixes for biologic products.
Last week, I had the pleasure of chairing the first day of the BioTech Pharma Summit: Biologics and Biosimilars conference in the gorgeous Porto, Portugal. (Don’t ask me how much I spent on port wine in the days before the conference.) The conference was — shockingly — the first European biosimilar conference I have attended in my tenure as a biosimilars editor. (Even though Europe is leaps and bounds — and then more bounds — ahead of the U.S. with biosimilars.)
A few months ago, I read a fabulous Q&A in Managed Care Magazine featuring oncologist Gary Lyman and co-director of the Hutchinson Institute for Cancer Outcomes Research at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. In this day and age, we regularly come across surveys or discussions emphasizing how much more work we have to do in the education realm to ensure physicians’ comfort with biosimilars. But after reading Lyman’s interview on one cold, dreary January day, I felt buoyed. That’s not to say there isn’t more work to be done, of course. But it was reassuring to see a prominent member of the oncology community express such comfort and confidence in biosimilars.
While the biosimilar market in the U.S. has gotten off to a relatively slow start compared to Europe, where biosimilars have been available since 2006, it has recently gained momentum and will continue to grow in the coming years as more “blockbuster” biologics lose regulatory exclusivity and patent protection. Here we review our observations in the biosimilar space since the enactment of the 2009 Biologics Price Competition and Innovation Act (BPCIA) and our view of the future of biosimilars and related patent disputes.
Two employer experts lay out the challenges rebates pose, both for employers and biosimilar uptake, as well as the increasing importance of greater integration amongst employers and health systems from both a biosimilar utilization and an overall cost savings standpoint.
The biosimilars pipeline is progressing rapidly and continues to grow, with more products and more organizations involved. This article reviews the current biosimilars development pipeline and progress.
In the first of what will be a two-part article, I’ll share two employer organization experts' thoughts on current reimbursement models for biosimilars and how employers and manufacturers can to reshape these practices to bring biosimilars more regularly into employer negotiations.
As policy makers release new policies to reduce healthcare spending, it’s imperative that biosimilar companies emphasize that lowering drug prices and cutting reimbursement are not the same thing. The latter could have serious consequences for critical classes of medicines, including biosimilars.
In the first of this two-part article, I’ll discuss two current policies that could impact biosimilars in the U.S. — in particular, coding evolutions and the pass-through status debate — and some of the yet-unanswered questions they raise about reimbursement consistency between biosimilars and their reference products.
The first biosimilar was approved for the European market in 2006. While the regulatory pathway for biosimilars in the U.S. was created as part of the Affordable Care Act in March 2010, the first biosimilar was only recently approved for the U.S. market in March 2015.
Biosimilars are essentially generic versions of large molecule biologics. However, the fact they are not exact copies of the reference product makes establishing regulations for their approval and release to market a more complicated process. The WHO, along with many other parties in the pharmaceutical industry, has argued that regulations governing the development and approval of small molecule generics are not appropriate for more complex biological medicines. As such, the WHO set out to establish regulations articulating the efficacy, safety, and quality standards biosimilars must meet and maintain to make it to market. These regulations specify that a biosimilar must prove its biosimilarity to a reference product through head-to-head comparisons. The biosimilar company must also submit non-clinical and clinical studies data and a pharmacovigilance plan to the appropriate regulatory body. Those navigating the landscape of current biosimilars regulations face the challenge of demonstrating a biosimilar’s safety, purity, efficacy, and potency.
The current U.S. Food and Drug Association (FDA) and European Medicines Agency (EMA) regulations for biosimilars require these biologic copies to undergo extensive analytical chemistry, manufacturing, and control (CMC) and clinical processes to prove similarity to the reference product. However, in comparison to the originator biologic, a biosimilar could see an accelerated approval process, as it might need less data to meet the established regulations. The EMA was the first regulatory authority to establish marketing regulations for biosimilars in 2005. Other countries including Australia, Canada, Japan, Korea, and South Africa have since turned to the EMA’s regulations, as well as the WHO’s regulations, as a model for crafting their own regulations. In 2012, the FDA released three draft guidances to assist biosimilar developers in demonstrating their product’s biosimilarity. To comply with existing U.S. regulations, manufacturers are expected to include structural analysis, functional assays, and data from animal and human clinical trials in their applications. As biosimilar production spreads globally, regulations have continued to shift and evolve. Currently, each governing body has differing definitions/terminology for biosimilars, and as such, has established varying regulations dictating what studies and data are needed to be approved for the market.