[THE INVESTOR] Celltrion Healthcare, the sales and marketing unit of biosimilar developer Celltrion, on Sept. 5 called on the UK’s public health service provider National Health Service to consider lowering the threshold for starting biologics treatment for patients with rheumatoid arthritis.
It underscored the cost-effectiveness of using its cheaper copy version of biologics treatments in order to spur the uptake of its biosimilar product.
“We have identified clear disparities in access to biologics across Europe. Patients diagnosed with less-than-severe disease activity should be able to get just as good and cost-effective benefits from biologics as patients with severely active diseases, as this will help them achieve a better quality of life,” Celltrion Healthcare head of Strategy and Operations Kim Ho-ung said in a statement.
According to the company, the percentage of patients who are treated with an anti-tumor necrosis factor (anti-TNF) is 15 percent, lagging behind that of other European countries such as Italy and France with 24 percent or higher.
The lower figure in the UK is due to the fact that patients must have a more severe disease level before being considered for treatment.
Anti-TNF is a class of treatment that reduces inflammation and pain. Celltrion launched anti-TNF Remsima (infliximab), its biosimilar version of Johnson & Johnson’s Remicade, in major EU countries in early 2015 to take away market share of the original drug.
Around 80 percent of Remsima sales come from European markets. It is seeking to capture a bigger pie in the UK market by promoting that its product can resolve the rise in health care costs.
Switching patients to biosiimlars of the biologics treatments led to significant cost savings. Infliximab biosimilars delivered 99.4 million euros (US$115.25 million) in savings, Celltrion Healthcare said, quoting NHS data.
“With the proven savings gained through the use of biosimilars this could be a real opportunity for the NHS to address these inequalities,” Kim said.
NHS saved 324 million euros in the last financial year by switching from using 10 higher priced medicines to better value biosimilars and generic medicines.
By Park Han-na (firstname.lastname@example.org)