Over 15 years ago, the world’s first biosimilar was launched. This was very much a European success story, with the European Medicines Agency leading the way to bringing more affordable biologics to patients. Biosimilars have had a tremendous impact on:
- Patient access: Biosimilars paved the way for millions of patients to access life changing therapies, providing earlier and broader access across oncology, immunology and endocrinology.
- Healthcare system sustainability: Through savings, healthcare systems can focus resources on innovative products to improve the lives of even more people. To date, biosimilar medicines have saved 18 billion Euro in Europe1.
- Innovation: Biosimilars bring competition to the market, one of the most powerful triggers for further investment in research and innovation.
However, more needs to be done to achieve equitable access to biologics in Europe.
As stressed in the IQVIA 2021 Impact of Biosimilar Competition report: “Not all European countries have been either willing or able to increase access to biological medicines in the available therapy classes2”. There remains a lot that countries across Europe can do to increase the use of biosimilars and close access gaps, for the full benefits of patients. The Pharmaceutical Strategy for Europe must help unlock the full potential of biosimilar medicines. These calls have been echoed by the European Parliament in the report on the EU pharmaceutical strategy3 and EU beating cancer plan4.
Isabell Remus, Chair of the Biosimilar Medicines Sector group of Medicines for Europe, said: “The access gaps will not close by themselves, this requires conscious policy-making that puts biosimilar medicines – and patients — at the centre. This can only happen with strong political leadership to drive the right mix of policies. The European Commission has been a strong ally in the past 15 years and we very much count on its leadership to keep shaping the right environment for biosimilars over the next 15 years.”
The policy framework for biosimilar medicines will be discussed at a stakeholder focused webinar, entitled “15 Years of Biosimilars: Improving Equitable Access to Essential and Affordable Biological Medicines in Europe”. The webinar will take place at 11.30-13.00 CET on Tuesday 25th January. For more, see here.
THE BIOSIMILAR MEDICINES GROUP
The Biosimilar Medicines Group is a sector group of Medicines for Europe representing the leading companies developing, manufacturing and/or marketing biosimilar medicines across Europe. With more than 15 years of positive patient treatment experience, biosimilar medicines provide today a huge opportunity to deliver significantly improved access to modern therapies for millions of European patients in both chronic and acute care. Our members bring competition to the biological medicines market, thereby increasing access to highly innovative treatments to patients, in Europe and around the world, and supporting the sustainability of the European healthcare systems.