Biosimilars take over pharmacies

The victory is timid, but the supporters of biosimilars – these almost identical copies of biological drugs whose patent has fallen into the public domain – are not entirely ignoring their pleasure.

After nearly a decade of battle, the government has just granted, in a decree published in the Official newspaper, on April 14, a right of substitution of biological drugs for pharmacists, in order to accelerate the use of biosimilars in France.

Read also: Article reserved for our subscribers “Useful, safe and cost-saving, biosimilar drugs are struggling to find a place in the city”

Concretely, pharmacies will now be able to offer these alternatives, on average 30% less expensive, to their customers, instead of reference biological drugs, like what is already commonly practiced with generics. With a caveat: only two biomedicines are concerned by this authorization, Neulasta and Neupogen (which are used in the treatment of neutropenia, a severe hematological disorder).

“Admittedly, the list is, for the moment, limited, but it remains a historic step. It echoes that passed on June 12, 1999, which has allowed generic drugs to take off in France over the past twenty-three years, and to the Health Insurance to achieve significant savings », welcomes Jérôme Wirotius, general manager of Biogaran, a subsidiary of the French laboratory Servier. An opinion also shared by Gemme, the lobby of generic and biosimilar manufacturers, which welcomed this decision in a press release.

“We will quickly see that it will not work”

However, this enthusiasm is not shared by all the players in the sector. The Biosimilars think tank, supported by the pharmaceutical companies Accord Healthcare, Amgen and Sandoz, considers this list derisory, considering that the two biomedicines retained by the State, already largely substituted by biosimilars in practice, will not allow significant additional savings.

“These are treatments that are very little prescribed, unlike other biomedicines, which are however not on the list, such as Lovenox or Humira”also regrets Pierre-Olivier Variot, president of the Union of Unions of Community Pharmacists (USPO).

Read also Article reserved for our subscribers In the battle between biosimilars and biomedicines, the Ministry of Health seeks consensus

During the consultation with the government, which ended at the beginning of the year, the pharmacists had demanded that the list include more drugs. But the government finally decided to reserve the right to substitute certain biomedicines to doctors only. Absurd in the eyes of pharmacists, who favor a list common to both professions.

You have 49.64% of this article left to read. The following is for subscribers only.

source site-27