Biosimilars cost up to 80% more in the US than Europe: Here's why

Americans pay up to 80 percent more for biosimilars — or copycat versions of biologic drugs —  than their European counterparts, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

Here are three reasons why, according to the report:  

1. Patent protection efforts. The brand-name biologic makers use a variety of strategies to ensure their product is protected from generic competition in the U.S. For example, drugmakers often use "patent thickets," which are overlapping patents to block biosimilars from the market or special contracting deals to grow market share. In Europe, governments have cracked down on drugmakers, stopping them from using some of these tactics.

2. Quantity of biosimilars. The U.S. has just six biosimilars on the market, whereas Europe has 50. The added competition in Europe has driven prices lower, according to the report.

3. Price increases. European countries often don't allow price increases after a drug launches. In some cases, the national health authority requires patients to switch to less expensive biosimilars once it gains approval, Michael Kleinrock, research director for IQVIA Institute for Human Data Science, told the San Francisco Chronicle. The U.S. does not have a similar rule.

Read the full report here.

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