Biosimilars: Shaking Up the Oncology Scene

Person's hands removing a pill from a blister pack with a glass of water nearby

Biosimilar medications for oncology care improve access to effective treatment at a significant financial savings for health plans, health systems, and patients.

First up, just what are biosimilars? Some people wonder if it’s just another term for generics.

Biosimilars are not the same as generic versions of medications. Biosimilars are less expensive versions of already approved biologic medications used for cancer, autoimmune, and other diseases. (Biologic medications are typically large complex molecules manufactured in living systems.) Although the two medications will not be identical; in order to gain FDA approval, the biosimilar must have the same safety, purity, and potency and there can be no clinically meaningful differences in their uses. In other words, biosimilars are almost (but not exactly) the same medication as the original biologic.

And here’s the main reason for biosimilar excitement: Biosimilars are generally sold at a price point 20-30% lower than the brand-name medication they mimic.

With oncology specifically, biosimilars are gaining ground with more payors covering these cost-saving medications. Currently there are 17 biosimilars available for oncology purposes, with more in the pipeline that will presumably be available in the near future.

There’s never been a better time than now to offer your patients the choice of biosimilar medications. As always, BioPlus Specialty Pharmacy is ready to partner with your office as the ‘fast & easy’ way to get your patients referred for the specialty medications they need, including biosimilars.