Decision Resources, one of the world's leading research and advisory firms for pharmaceutical and healthcare issues, forecasts that biosimilars of tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha inhibitors stand to erode $9.6 billion in brand sales (Amgen's Enbrel, Abbott's Humira and Centocor Ortho Biotech/Schering-Plough's Remicade) in the U.S. and Europe (France, Germany, Italy, Spain and U.K.) by 2018. This use of TNF-alpha biosimilars will save healthcare systems in the U.S. and Europe $4 billion.
"Sales associated with TNF-alpha inhibitors make these agents an attractive target for biosimilar manufacturers, while the cost of TNF-alpha inhibitor therapy makes this drug class a priority for payers looking to reduce spend," stated MaryEllen Klusacek, Ph.D., analyst at Decision Resources. "We expect rheumatoid arthritis, the largest indication fueling the growth of the TNF-alpha inhibitor market, will be the first indication targeted by biosimilar developers."
The new special report entitled Biosimilars: TNF-Alpha Inhibitors and Interferon-Alphas in Immune and Infectious Disease also finds that gastroenterologists and rheumatologists have a conservative attitude towards biosimilar use compared with physicians in other specialties (e.g., oncologists). Survey results suggest that physician discomfort with biosimilar TNF-alpha inhibitors and interferon-alphas (i.e., Schering-Plough's Peg Intron and Roche's Pegasys) will not prevent them from prescribing these agents. The majority of surveyed gastroenterologists and rheumatologists will be motivated to prescribe biosimilars in response to pressure from payers looking to control costs.
"For the second year in a row, surveyed U.S. payers rank TNF-alpha inhibitors as their top priority for reducing biologics spend. Based on this finding, we anticipate that payer pressure on physicians to prescribe biosimilar TNF-alpha inhibitors will be high," added Dr. Klusacek.