How biosimilars are affecting the drug markets

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Lowering prescription drug prices continues to be a hot topic. Spending on biologic products, which includes most vaccines and gene therapies, was estimated at $125 billion in the United States in 2018, representing about a quarter of total pharmaceutical spending.

Biosimilars, follow-on products to biologic drugs with essentially the same molecular composition to produce comparable clinical effects, are viewed by many as a way to promote competition and bring down drug prices. But the biosimilar market is young, with half of the 10 key product classes seeing marketing entry in 2018 or later.

Understanding the evolving market for biosimilars is the topic of this episode of A Health Podyssey.

Ariel Dora Stern, associate professor at Harvard Business School and a faculty affiliate of the Harvard-MIT Center for Regulatory Science, and coauthors published a paper in the June 2021 issue of Health Affairs examining how quickly biosimilars and follow-on products gained market share and the subsequent trajectory of drug prices.

Listen to Health Affairs Editor-in-Chief Alan Weil interview Dr. Stern on what biosimilars are and how the pharmaceutical market is evolving in response to their market entry.

This episode is sponsored by the Rural Health Research Gateway at the University of North Dakota.

Pre-order your copy of the July 2021 issue of Health Affairs.

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