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NICE announces plans to back biosimilar alternatives to Merck’s Remicade.
The European organization, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), has announced that it plans to back two biosimilar versions of Merck’s Remicade (infliximab).
Remicade is a biologic used to treat rheumatoid arthritis and is marketed by Merck in Europe and Johnson & Johnson in the US. The drug has a list price of €419.62 ($598) per 100 mg vial. The drug has estimated revenue of $10 billion.
Hospira and Napp Pharmaceuticals are marketing two Remicade biosimilars in the US, Inflectra and Remsima, which cost €377.66 ($416.93), an estimated 10% less than the biologic. NICE backed the two drugs, saying patients “should be started with the least expensive drug.” The organization has also backed four other biosimilars including AbbVie’s Humira (Adalimumab), Pfizer’s Enbrel (etanercept), UCB’s Cimzia (certolizumab pegol), and Bristol-Meyers Squibb’s Orencia (abatacept).
According to a report from Reuters, less-expensive biosimilar alternatives poaching business from large pharmaceutical companies are a growing concern for investors who may be “worried about the impact on large drug company earnings.” But so far, the report asserts, it is unclear the impact biosimilars reaching market in the next few years will have on the industry.