Biosimilars Not Analogous To Generics When It Comes To Drug Substitutions

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A recent article in Managed Healthcare Executive posed the question, “Are Payers Optimistic About Biosimilars’ Savings?”

The answer, it seems, is a tentative “yes.”

Biosimilars are lower cost version of expensive biologics. The first biosimilar approved by the FDA in the U.S. was Zarxio, a generic of Amgen’s Neupogen, back in March of 2015. This approval opened the door for many others.

What remains to be seen is how companies and their pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) will handle this new class of drugs when managing their drug formularies. One mistake they should avoid is treating biosimilars like generics, says Willis Towers Watson North American Pharmacy Practice Leader, Nadina Rosier.

Quoted in the article, Rosier said, “Biosimilars are not the same as generic specialty drugs, so strategies that ‘auto-substitute’ in similar ways to how generics substitute for traditional drugs are not appropriate. Instead, many PBMs have indicated they are considering formulary approaches that are similar to how traditional and specialty drugs are managed today.”

For the complete article in Managed Healthcare Executive, click here.

[Photo Credit: cea+ on Flickr via Creative Commons 2.0]

This post appeared on the OneExchange Blog on January 4th, 2017 and can be viewed there by clicking here.
Willis Towers Watson is a leading global professional services company and operator of the nation's largest private Medicare exchange. Willis Towers Watson OneExchange is the industry’s only holistic private exchange solution, offering exchange options for U.S. employers and their active, part-time and retired workers.