Demonstrating Value for Biosimilars: A Conceptual Framework

Am Health Drug Benefits. 2015 May;8(3):129-39.


Background: The value proposition for biosimilars can be characterized as a concept that moves beyond the argument of cost reduction relative to the innovator biologic drug and into a framework that incorporates the diverse needs of key healthcare stakeholders during the transition from clinical development to commercialization in the marketplace.

Objectives: To identify factors that facilitate and inhibit the development, commercialization, and adoption of biosimilars, and to recommend modifications in program design that are likely to support the demonstration of the value of biosimilars for payers, providers, and patients.

Methods: The primary data sources for this article include surveys conducted by Boston Healthcare Associates with payers and clinicians in the United States and the European Union 5 markets and blinded international protocol feasibility assessments completed by Worldwide Clinical Trials. Survey methodology used either convenience or purposeful sampling as appropriate, with participants extracted from diverse audiences, representative of those who generate or evaluate clinical data shaping the economic exchange and preferential status influencing physician adoption and patient access to biosimilars. Patient characteristics and psychosocial issues influencing patients' perception of small-molecule generics were extracted from the available literature to inform exploratory hypotheses, given the relative absence of such information for biosimilars.

Discussion: This article reviews the current evidence and summarizes results of surveys conducted with payers, providers, and drug investigation sites in the United States. Based on a review of published literature, as well as these survey results, conflicting and convergent demands exist for gathering data related to biosimilars. The motivations and data needs for these new agents are diverse, requiring adjudication of regulatory, economic, and clinical incentives beginning at program inception and extending through commercialization of the final biosimilar agent.

Conclusions: The development and commercialization of biosimilars represent an international activity that can encounter unanticipated challenges, as well as opportunities to achieve clinical and commercial success. Evolving regulatory guidance mapped in relation to payer, physician, and patient sentiments may inform the biosimilar development program designs, implementation, and positioning of the new drug.

Keywords: biologics; biosimilar adoption; biosimilars; commercialization; drug development; generic drugs; patients; payers; providers; reference drug; regulatory guidance; value proposition.

Publication types

  • Review