The end of an era

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October 10, 2022

Humira price hikes come to an end with biosimilars in 2023.

After nearly two decades of patent exclusivity and $200 billion in sales, Abbvie’s monopoly on Humira (adalimumab) is ending in 2023. What does this mean for members and employer groups now that the highest grossing drug of all time finally has competition from biosimilar products?

Humira is an injectable medication, FDA approved for the treatment of many autoimmune diseases (e.g. rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, & plaque psoriasis). For most employer groups, Humira is one of their top spend drugs and they are eager to finally have lower cost options.

Biosimilar products are different from generic drugs. Biosimilars are biologic products that, clinically, have similar effects as the brand product but the molecules vary slightly. Therefore, biosimilars are not considered generic drugs by the FDA. Some biosimilars are FDA approved to be interchangeable at the pharmacy with the brand product, while others require a new prescription from the prescriber. For members, this means more options but they may need a new prescription from their doctor when they switch to a biosimilar product.

In early January 2023, the release of the Amgen adalimumab biosimilar is expected, followed by products from Organon, Boehringer, Teva, Coherus, Viatris, Pfizer, Fresenius, and Novartis throughout the rest of the year.

For employer groups, more competition means lower drug spend on adalimumab products. In efforts to maintain market share, Abbvie is expected to offer more competitive discounts and continue their patient assistance and copay discount programs to be competitive with the many biosimilars coming to market.

SmithRx looks forward to aggressively pursuing these adalimumab biosimilar alternatives to reduce drug costs for our clients and their members.

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A new type of pharmacy benefits manager, SmithRx is working to reduce pharmacy costs by reimagining the traditional PBM as a Drug Acquisition Platform built on transparent modern technology that aligns with the needs of our customers.