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November 2017

Biosimilars—Curb Your Enthusiasm

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Health Administration and Policy, George Mason University, Fairfax, Virginia
  • 2Department of Health Services Policy and Management, University of South Carolina, Columbia
  • 3Center for Medication Safety and Efficacy, University of South Carolina, Columbia
JAMA Oncol. 2017;3(11):1467-1468. doi:10.1001/jamaoncol.2017.1530

Biosimilars are nonpatented biologic products that are similar to reference biologic agents in structure, function, activity, safety, and efficacy. In 2014, investigators from the RAND Corporation, a prominent policy think tank, predicted that the introduction of biosimilars could result in up to $44.2 billion worth of savings from 2014 to 2024 in the United States.1 Thus, they envisioned that the emergence of biosimilar drugs has the potential to create substantial savings for the nation’s health care system. This estimate was derived from a model identifying potential price savings based on 4 factors: safety and effectiveness of a biosimilar in comparison with the branded biologic; payers’ willingness to pay for biosimilars relative to the branded biologic; the extent to which patients, physicians, and payers will adopt biosimilars; and barriers to entry faced by biosimilar makers.1

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