January 31, 2023
By Zoey Becker
Amgen’s long-awaited Humira biosimilar, Amjevita, has finally hit the market. After years of sitting on the biosimilar, which won an FDA approval in 2016, Amgen is ready to make waves.
California-based Amgen is offering the first U.S. Humira biosimilar at two different price points—one 55% below Humira’s list price and the other at a 5% discount. Humira’s U.S. list price is $6,922 per month, Reuters reports.
While the 55% discount looks good on paper, the more expensive product might end up being more popular with payers because of rebate dynamics.
If the story sounds familiar, it might be because Biocon and Viatris used the same strategy when the two launched their interchangeable insulin biosimilar, Semglee, in late 2021. That drug, a version of Sanofi’s Lantus, rolled out in both branded and unbranded formats.
The unbranded version was priced 65% cheaper than Lantus’ list price at a wholesale acquisition cost (WAC) of $147.98 for a package of five pens, marking the lowest WAC for any insulin glargine pen on the market to date at the time.
Meanwhile, the branded version carried a list price of $404.04 for a package of five pens, coming in only slightly cheaper than Lantus’ list price of $425.31.
In Semglee’s case, the higher-priced option was more popular because of the larger rebates associated with the costlier product. Many payers didn’t offer the lower-priced option.
“The cost-savings of biosimilars can only be realized if all biosimilars—especially biosimilars for Humira—are fully available and accessible to the patients who need them,” Juliana Reed, executive director of the Biosimilars Forum, said in a statement.
Reed stressed that pharmacy benefit managers must “prioritize patients over profits” and include Humira biosimilars on all commercial formularies.
After Amgen’s Tuesday biosim launch, still to come later this year are Humira biosimilars from Boehringer Ingelheim, Novartis’ Sandoz, Organon, Pfizer, Mylan, Coherus and Fresenius Kabi.
Outside of COVID-19 products, AbbVie’s Humira is the world’s bestselling drug, pulling in more than $15.6 billion in the first 9 months of 2022.
Read More on Fierce Pharma.