June 07, 2023
Don’t Mess with Success: U.S. Immunology Treaters Resistant to Switching Stable Humira Patients to Biosimilars, According to Spherix Global Insights
Adalimumab biosimilars hold potential to grow the overall biologic-treated population, but only if the cost savings translate to patients and practices.
EXTON, Pa., June 7, 2023 — Amgen launched the first U.S. adalimumab biosimilar, Amjevita, in January 2023. Yet according to the latest findings from Spherix Global Insights, even the first to market advantage can’t stand up to AbbVie giant Humira (the original adalimumab). Spherix conducted its Special Topix™: Immune Biosimilars Today and Tomorrow (US) quarterly deep dive survey into the immune biosimilar market surveying 81 dermatologists, 77 gastroenterologists, and 85 rheumatologists, and, as one surveyed rheumatologist states, “If Humira is working, don’t mess with success by switching to a biosimilar.” While most prescribers are not against biosimilars, in theory, they have made it clear that switching a stable patient from a reference brand (Humira) to a biosimilar, is not the preferred treatment pattern.
In addition to the clinical concerns of providers, add in the “AbbVie halo,” and biosimilar manufacturers have a steep hill to climb. The majority of immunologists across specialties admitted that brand loyalty to AbbVie does indeed impact their decision to use an adalimumab biosimilar. AbbVie is and has been considered a leader amongst dermatologists, gastroenterologists, and rheumatologists, reflective of their large portfolios (Humira, Skyrizi, Rinvoq) and historically strong patient and practice support programs, making them one of the leading manufacturers across many major immunology conditions.
Despite these headwinds for biosimilar manufacturers, prescribers do note that pricing will play a critical role in uptake and potential displacement of branded Humira; however, Amjevita has yet to make the cost-savings approach compelling. Indeed, recently surveyed immunologists believe the greatest savings at this point go to the overall health system and insurers, currently leaving little savings left for patients and practices.
In contrast to Amgen’s pricing strategy, Coherus Biosciences may have just upped the ante, potentially giving specialists the savings they desire for their patients and practices. On June 1, 2023, Coherus announced their adalimumab biosimilar, Yusimry (approved in December 2021 and is projected to launch in July of this year), will hit the market at a whopping 85% discount from AbbVie’s originator Humira wholesale acquisition cost (WAC). These savings are akin to the pressure branded small molecule blockbusters feel from generic competition.
Furthermore, Coherus has partnered with the Mark Cuban Cost Plus Drug Company to sell the biosimilar at $569.27 plus dispensing and shipping fees. In comparison, Amgen’s launch pricing strategy afforded two list price options, a discount of 5% and 55% compared to the originator biologic Humira’s WAC, presumably offering payers and pharmacy benefit managers higher rebates for the lower discount option.
Though a tricky balance between cost and care, many immunologists do feel that biosimilars have the potential to grow the overall biologic treated population; however, the vast majority of those who feel this way believe the growth is contingent on increasing accessibility with lower costs. As one prescriber reports, “Cost and drug accessibility has been the most significant barrier to using biologics. If these issues are somewhat less significant then more biologics will be prescribed.”
Spherix will continue to track the uptake of the various adalimumab biosimilars and overall impact to the broader immunology landscape.
About Special Topix™
Special Topix™: Immune Biosimilars Today and Tomorrow (US) advisory service consists of quarterly deep dive reports based on a large-scale survey and select qualitative interviews with biologic coordinators. It is coupled with monthly pulses tracking HCP experience with Amjevita as well as perceptions and intentions related to future adalimumab biosimilar entrants.
About Spherix Global Insights
Spherix Global Insights is a leading provider of market research, business intelligence and advisory services to the global life sciences industry. The company’s unique service offerings are powered by deep therapeutic knowledge, the Spherix Network specialty physician panel, and commercially relevant analyses to enable strategic decision-making by our valued customers.
A trusted advisor and industry thought leader, Spherix Global Insights provides specialized market expertise in six (6) focused therapeutic areas including: dermatology, gastroenterology, nephrology, neurology, rheumatology and ophthalmology.
To learn more about Spherix Global Insights, visit spherixglobalinsights.com or connect through LinkedIn and Twitter.
For more details on Spherix’s primary market research reports and interactive dashboard offerings, visit or register here: https://clientportal.spherixglobalinsights.com
Spherix Global Insights Contacts
Chrystal Ferguson, Insights Director, Biosimilars
Scott Upham, Corporate Communications
NOTICE: All company, brand or product names in this press release are trademarks of their respective holders. The findings and opinions expressed within are based on Spherix Global Insight’s analysis and do not imply a relationship with or endorsement by any company, brand, or product aforementioned.