Competition in the Age of Biosimilars

July 21, 2015

The Journal of the American Medical Association (Chandra, Vanderpuye-Orgle, 7/21) published an article discussing how the competition created by biosimilars is different from competition by generic drugs and proposes ways in which public policy might increase the competitive benefits of biosimilars. “[B]iologics are manufactured using complex living systems, are made of very large and complex molecules, and cannot be copied identically. Therefore, a biosimilar is not automatically interchangeable with its reference product and cannot be marketed as generating the same results as the reference product. … A complex and costly biotechnological manufacturing process means that the cost savings from biologics will be smaller because of the substantially higher cost of production.” The article suggests that because of this, as well as the likely preference for the reference biologic, “biosimilars will have less effect on the marketplace than generic products did for branded small molecule drugs.”