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Biosimilars in oncology in the United States: A review

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Bruce Feinberg, DO

Vice President
Chief Medical Officer
Cardinal Health Specialty Solutions

Chadi Nabhan, MD, MBA, FACP

Chief Medical Officer, Cardinal Health Specialty Solutions

Sandeep Parsad, PharmD
Department of Pharmacy
University of Chicago

Anthony R. Mato, MD, MSCE
Deparment of Medicine
University of Pennsylvania

As the conversation about ways to lower the ever-rising cost of cancer treatment continues, biosimilars present a significant opportunity for reducing healthcare expenditures by creating price competition with their reference products.

At present, two biosimilars with an oncology supportive care indication are currently approved in the U.S. and both are myeloid growth factors. In the next few years, manufacturer patents for multiple cancer biologics will expire, paving the way for more oncology biosimilars to be approved.

The potential impact of generic competition for oncology biologics could be dramatic; however, a myriad of factors are creating barriers to adoption and uptake in the U.S., including patient and physician education on the financial impact, safety and equivalency of biosimilars. Still, in a value-based care environment, the potential cost savings make biosimilars a very attractive option. It will be critical for oncologists to understand how these drugs are regulated, approved and paid for going forward.

This article from JAMA Oncology analyzes the hurdles facing biosimilar use in oncology in the U.S. and proposes solutions to perceived barriers in adoption. 

Correction: The original version of this article included some information that has since been corrected.

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