Thursday, July 2, 2015

Biosimilars are not a revolution

A couple of days ago I had a short exchange with @SORCOM1 on twitter, reading “… aprendiendo de la siguiente revolución reumatológia: Biosimilares!!” (
I replied: “Biosimilares no son una revolución. Biosimilares son sólo copias de un original. Nuevas dianas terapéuticas son una revolución.”
@SORCOM1 answered: “De acuerdo con el matiz. Llamémoslo"terremoto" “.
And I replied: “Cada camión que pasa, causando un "terremoto".”

What’s behind all this? Biosimilars aren’t a new principle of therapy, but someone wants to make money on the ideas that others had. In principle that’s how things have been regulated. After a while it’s possible to copy drugs. And copying biologicals isn’t an easy task. But using words like revolucion or earth quake for this feat is inappropriate. At least that’s my idea.

If some people on national health decision boards hope that biosimilars will reduce costs, they’re pretty optimistic. Prices for biologics won’t drop drastically; there might be a minor reduction. I’d like to be wrong on this issue.

Do I use biosimilars? Not around the start of July 2015. Will I use biosimilars? I’ll wait for the health authorities’ decisions on prices of biologics and if the originals keep a higher price level than biosimilars – and then I might use biosimilars.

One year later. I have to use biosimilars. I do it reluctantly, but I do. 
Prices haven't dropped so far. Why won't this happen. If the physician changes from originator biologic to biosimilar, he will have to take the blame, if some adverse event happens. This is different from starting with a biosimilar. So, the originators can sit back und watch the show. Physicians won't change the medication so quickly.

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