What Kind of Impact Will Biosimilars Have on the Pharmaceutical Market
Biosimilars are one of the hottest topics in the medical field right now. These large molecule products are produced to mimic the effects of biologic treatment. This means they work just as well as the biologics they are created to model.
They also have to have the same level or severity of side effects and the same level or amount of benefits.
Biosimilars are a relatively recent aspect of healthcare coverage. Patents for many biologics has only started to end, thus there are few biologics in which companies have been able to create biosimilars for. However, that is coming to an end. More biosimilars are being created each year, and the market for biosimilars will only continue to grow.
The economic impact of biosimilars is very interesting. Since biosimilars can be produced at a lower cost than biologics, it means that medical insurance and out of pocket expenses are reduced. While there’s often a very drastic reduction when it comes to standard drugs and medication, there is less of a price drop to the consumer with a biosimilar. This is because the production process still needs to be worked out by the biosimilar creator. They can’t duplicate a biologic treatment exactly because of different conditions and different living material used! However, it’s still far less expensive. While the production needs to be repeated, a large amount of the research portion is complete, thus making them cheaper.
The overall alterations to the healthcare industry could be billions of dollars. Paying lower costs for medications and treatments always trickles down. If insurance carriers are paying less, then they will typically also be charging less for medical insurance. This trickle down effect means people will end up paying less overall.
Research and Development
The creation of a biosimilar is not easy. Creating a biologic is even more difficult. Research must be done to determine exactly how to create the treatment in question. What kind of living material will work best for the creation of the biologic is important. Biosimilars will still need to be developed. While a blueprint of the general idea has been worked out, biosimilars are simply very close to the biologic. This is because the large molecule format can mean that even the slightest change in creation, means the molecule can be slightly different.
Where the real financial savings in the R+D department comes from the clinical testing phase. Biologics have to run the full line of testing to ensure their product performs as expected. Biosimilars benefit from the well established FDA belief that established medication replication doesn’t require the same tests to be run again.
What Can Biosimilars Treat?
So, biosimilars seem to be a more economical option for treatment, but what do they actually treat? It’s important to note that there are still not that many biosimilars on the market as of yet. Patents for biologics are ending all the time. In most cases, biosimilars have only started to be approved as of 2015. The increasing number of them is helping to treat more issues. Just some of the many medical conditions that can be treated include:
- Plaque Psoriasis
- Crohn’s Disease
- Psoriatic Arthritis
- Rheumatoid Arthritis
- Spine Arthritis (Also known as Ankylosing Spondylitis)
- Ulcerative Colitis
- Cervical Cancers
- Colorectal Cancer
- Kidney Cancer
- Non-Squamous Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer
Like all medications, biosimilars can have side effects. What’s different from generic drugs is that the side effects can be slightly different from those in the biologic. In order to be approved, a biosimilar needs to present itself showing similar severity of side effects, even if the side effects differ slightly.
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