Biosimilars could save healthcare systems $100bn by 2020

pharmafile | March 30, 2016 | News story | Research and Development, Sales and Marketing biosimilars 

The growth of the market for biosimilar drugs has the potential to save EU and US healthcare systems up to $100 billion by 2020, according to new research from IMS Health.

The report, entitled Delivering on the Potential of Biosimilar Medicines, looked at ways of ensuring the benefits of more affordable versions of biologic drugs are delivered on for patients and payers.

The research found that the global biologic medicines market is expected to be worth more than $390 billion by 2020, and that by this time, biologics will account for up to 28% by value of the global pharmaceutical market.

Use of cheaper biologic versions of biologic medicines could result in cumulative savings of between $50 and $100 billion by the end of the decade, expanding as more of the 50-plus biosimilars in development are approved by regulators and competition leads to price cuts.  

IMS found that of the EU markets, Germany had faired best at encouraging uptake of biosimilars through the education of physicians and the implementation of measures designed to stimulate biosimilar prescribing.

By contrast, the report found that Austria’s approach was the most lacking. Due to some biosimilar medicines being subject to mandatory price reductions, some biosimilar products have effectively been excluded from the market.

In addition to the cost benefits to payers, biosimilars also have the advantage of offering greater choice to physicians and patients, but IMS Health says this potential remains significantly “untapped”, due to such disparate regulatory pathways, a decade on from Europe approving its first biosimilar.

But many expensive and successful biologics are set to lose patent protection in key markets over the next five years. The combined value in the year to September 2015 of the eight top-selling biologic medicines losing exclusivity protection from patents or other measures between 2015 and 2020 cross the EU5 (France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK) and the US was €42.3 billion.

This suggests the time is right to ensure the regulatory pathway for biosimilars is optimised in favour of more approvals, paving the way for the maximum possible savings.

Joel Levy

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