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New Study Finds Biosimilar Competition Can Lower Prescription Drug Costs

Tuesday July 10, 2018

Generic and Biosimilars Industry Releases 10th Annual Access and Savings Report Highlights Potential of Biosimilars but Cautions Against Brand Efforts to Thwart Competition

(Washington, D.C. – July 10, 2018) —Today, the Biosimilars Council, a division of the Association for Accessible Medicines (AAM), alongside AAM released “Generic Access and Savings Report in the United States 2018,” which finds biosimilars have the potential to improve the quality of life for American patients while at the same time saving the health system billions of dollars each year.

Working from data collected in 2017 from the IQVIA Institute for Human and Data Science, the report demonstrates that sound policies focused on increasing biosimilar competition can lower costs for Americans with chronic and difficult-to-treat conditions. As the report shows, data from Europe, where biosimilars have been available since 2006, show that the use of lifesaving biologic treatments has grown significantly as lower-cost biosimilars have become available.

These findings underscore the significance of the main “Competition” pillar of President Trump’s Blueprint to Lower Drug Prices and Reduce Out-of-Pocket Costs. The Administration’s plan recognizes that rising prescription costs are a concern and that lower-cost biosimilars can offer increased options for patients, potentially reducing costs. However, as the “Access and Savings Report” warns, anti-competitive actions by brand companies put that market and subsequent patient savings at risk.

“American patients stand to gain from lower-cost, FDA-approved biosimilars, provided policies are created to encourage adoption and market uptake,” says Christine Simmon, Executive Director, Biosimilars Council and Senior Vice President, AAM. “To date, the United States has eleven approved biosimilars, however only three are accessible to patients. Biosimilars and generic drugs have the ability to transform the health care system. We support the efforts of the White House, FDA, HHS, and Congress to create a positive regulatory and legislative environment that encourages competition and discourages manipulation and misinformation spread by some brand companies.”

Today’s Access and Savings Report, the 10th annual release, calls attention to dangerous trends, which threaten to erode the value of biosimilars and generics, putting patient access in jeopardy, such as:

  • Price deflation, wherein three large buying consortia dictate terms for 90 percent of all generic drug purchases for the retail market creating a market imbalance that deters competition and could boomerang on the consumer;
  • Manipulation of regulatory authorities by brand drug companies to extend marketing monopolies and hoard potential consumer savings;
  • Policymakers’ persistent misunderstanding of the appreciable differences between the brand monopoly market and the generic market and tendency to undervalue the importance of competition in driving down prescription drug costs.

In addition to providing the stories of individual patients whose use of affordable generic medicines have kept their health and the rest of life’s essentials within reach, for the first-time-ever the study breaks down total savings by patient health condition, like arthritis, diabetes or heart disease.

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Department is now collecting feedback on its Request for Information (RFI) that seeks input into how best to implement the President’s “American Patients First” plan. The Biosimilars Council’s and AAM’s joint submission will provide the Administration with a constructive and achievable strategy to further patient savings by enhancing generic competition and developing a robust biosimilars market.

Media Contact: Rachel Schwartz, [email protected]

About the Biosimilars Council

The Biosimilars Council, a division of the Association for Accessible Medicines (AAM), works to ensure a positive environment for patient access to biosimilar medicines. The Biosimilars Council is a leading source for information about the safety and efficacy of more affordable alternatives to costly brand biologic medicines. Areas of focus include public and health expert education, strategic partnerships, government affairs, legal affairs and regulatory policy. More information is available on our about page.

About AAM

AAM is driven by the belief that access to safe, quality, effective medicine has a tremendous impact on a person’s life and the world around them. Generic and biosimilar medicines improve people’s lives, improving society and the economy in turn. AAM represents the manufacturers and distributors of finished generic pharmaceuticals and biosimilars, manufacturers and distributors of bulk pharmaceutical chemicals, and suppliers of other goods and services to the generic industry. Generic pharmaceuticals are 90 percent of prescriptions dispensed in the U.S. but only 23 percent of total drug spending. Additional information is available at www.accesiblemeds.org.

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