Innovator Biologics and Biosimilars

biologic medicine

When the patent for an original biologic medicine expires, companies can create copies called biosimilars. As the name suggests, biosimilars are similar, but not identical to their innovator biologic drug. As a result, small differences between medicines are unavoidable and regulators have determined that biosimilars are not “generic biologics” and should not be substituted without consulting a physician.

biologic medicine

Yet, private or government insurers can eliminate reimbursement of the innovator biologic medicine and only reimburse the biosimilar version. This is something that may result in non-medical switching, where a switch is made to a biosimilar for reasons unrelated to a patient’s health. And switching to a medicine that does not have identical active ingredients may have consequences.

biologic medicine

The Alliance for Safe Biologic Medicines believes that patients and their physician should remain in control of their treatment decisions, rather than an insurer, government, pharmacy, or other third party.

Watch this video for important information about non-medical switching and what it means for patients, physicians and payers.


See all comments Recent Comments

Dave Patriarche:

To be clear, the government, employers and insurers only have a say in what they will pay for. They do not say what you can or can not receive in the way of treatment. This is always the patients choice.

Patients are NOT forced to switch from one therapy to another based on cost (as indicated in the video). The pharmaceutical company is free to provide the drug at a reduced or even no cost to the patient.

This may sound ridiculous, but no more than pharmaceutical companies telling employers what they should be providing (in the way of coverage) and paying for. Continue down this path and employers will choose to reduce or remove coverage from plans and leave ALL choice and payment up to the patient.

Monday, July 17 at 11:16 am | Reply

Denis Charron:

The article describes non-medical switching as bad or negative for the patient. If it can be done safely, without consequences on patient care, and it can generate cost savings, I can only wonder of the motives of those who oppose it. Obviously, they do not have any concerns for the costs of such decisions or the issues with continued reimbursement (public or private) for these costs. With the rising costs of providing medical care (drug therapy or otherwise), I am always surprised to see all stakeholders not stepping up to provide the best treatment at the cheapest cost. Otherwise, I agree with Mr Patriarche prediction. I for one will do my best to avoid this scenario.

Tuesday, July 18 at 2:54 pm | Reply

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