In the next 5 years, thanks to biosimilar medicines, average health savings of almost 80 million euros per year are expected with a total saving of 450 million. To say it is the data of the report Iqvia “Biological and biosimilar drugs: therapeutic scenarios and estimated savings for the Italian Health System ‘which confirm that thanks to these drugs it is possible to make innovation accessible to a greater number of patients, but at sustainable costs. The theme of sustainable access to innovation was at the center of a scientific-institutional event dedicated to the major socio-health challenges of the next few years – from gender equality and women’s health to chronicity – organized by Organon Italia.
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by Tiziana Moriconi
What are biosimilars
Biological therapies have revolutionized the treatment of numerous diseases, but many are expiring and this has created the opportunity for the development and approval of biosimilars, a category around which there is still a lot of confusion on the part of public opinion. What exactly are they? “These are biological products developed using a gradual approach to obtain a drug that does not demonstrate clinically significant differences in terms of quality, efficacy, safety and immunogenicity compared to the reference biological”, he explains. Romano Danesi, full professor of Pharmacology at the University of Pisa. Therefore, they are not generic equivalents to the originator. “Clinical studies that evaluate biosimilar potential – continues the pharmacologist – are designed differently from those for the approval of a new biologic since the goal is to confirm similar efficacy and safety statistically not different than the reference biological “.
In short, why spend 5 times more on a drug when we can get the same result with a lower price and use the amount saved to invest in new drugs by anticipating patients’ access to innovative drugs? “The introduction of biosimilar drugs in oncology – he declares Paolo Marchetti, director of the Oncology Department of the Sant’Andrea Hospital in Rome – represents an opportunity to guarantee appropriate treatment to a wider audience of cancer patients. There has been a lot of confusion on the topic of biosimilars in the past because there was great uncertainty about their effectiveness and above all about their tolerability. Today we know that they give the same guarantees as the originating drugs without the need to pay the price needed to recover the development of a new drug “.
According to estimates for the American market, the use of biosimilars could ensure access to innovative therapies for 1.2 million patients, resulting in savings of 54 billion dollars over 10 years. In Italy, the data of the Iqvia report ‘Biological and biosimilar drugs: therapeutic scenarios and estimated savings for the Italian health system’ confirm that the entry of biosimilars on the market makes it possible to have ever wider access to innovation at sustainable costs. In the next 5 years, thanks to drugs in this category, average health savings of almost 80 million euros per year are expected, for a total saving of 450 million. “Biosimilars – underlines Marchetti – are a resource for continuing to guarantee equal treatment opportunities for all. Our Health Service is universal and manages to guarantee very high-cost therapies even to patients from abroad who could not receive those expensive therapies in their own country ”.
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