“One of the things that could affect the market—and this happened in Europe—is that they didn’t do much switching in the beginning,” said Joseph Fuhr, PhD, adjunct professor of pharmaceutical and healthcare business at University of the Sciences in Philadelphia. “What happened was, if a doctor had a new patient, they would put them on the biosimilar but not switch anybody away from the original product.”
Dr. Fuhr expects what happened in Europe to happen in the U.S.: Uptake of biosimilars will improve, and costs will go down, when interchangeability is demonstrated.
“When small-molecule generics came out, there was a big outcry and a lot of skepticism,” said Hakim. “What is now an accepted fact in the U.S. medical system is that small-molecule generics are just as good; there’s no reason to be skeptical of them.
“I think the same thing is going to be true for biosimilars. Hopefully, as regulatory bodies and clinicians gain a level of comfort on the basis of rigorous scientific and clinical data, we’ll be able to use biosimilars with the same degree of comfort as we use small-molecule generics.”
Jennifer Fink is a freelance medical writer based in Wisconsin.