Pressing Need for Biosimilar Medicines

February 14, 2013

Millions of American Patients in Need of Lifesaving Biologic Treatments

Ralph G. Neas, President and CEO of the Generic Pharmaceutical Association

(Washington, DC, Thursday, February 14, 2013) – Generic drugs have saved the American health care system trillions of dollars.  A class of drugs called biologics, which help your immune system fight disease, are often the only treatment options for disease, yet the cost has kept them out of the hands of many people who need them most.  The FDA now is developing regulations that will allow for their approval and use here at home, which will safely treat disease and save money, but states like Indiana are jumping in to speed the delivery of these drugs to patients.  In your state, HB 1315 is designed to get these life-saving medications into the hands of those who need them.

Biologic medicines are often the only medicines that can treat life-threatening diseases, but their high price tag can keep them out of reach for many patients.  People in many countries around the world already have access to less costly biosimilar versions of these medicines.  The FDA now is developing regulations that will allow for their approval and use here at home.

This new report from Grant Thornton underscores the need for swift and decisive action. Over the next four years brand biologics with $40 billion in U.S. sales will come off patent. Combining that number with the more than $20 billion in brand biologics that are already off patent, this represents more than $60 billion in annual spending in the U.S.  Even with the most conservative estimates, this report shows that biosimilars hold the potential to save $20 billion annually. 

At a time when policymakers are in dire need of healthcare savings, the Generic Pharmaceutical Association feels we cannot afford to leave $20 billion on the table. As proven with traditional chemical prescription drugs, competition from biosimilars in the biologics market will results in lower costs for patients and payers.

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