Policy Options for Infliximab Biosimilars in Inflammatory Bowel Disease Given Emerging Evidence for Switching

Appl Health Econ Health Policy. 2018 Jun;16(3):279-288. doi: 10.1007/s40258-018-0371-0.


Biosimilars are becoming increasingly available internationally as patents expire on the originator biologic drugs they are intended to copy. Although substitution policies seen with generic drugs are being considered as a means to reduce expenditures on biologics, some biosimilars pose particular challenges in that the act of substitution may eventually lead to increased rates of therapeutic failure. As evidence requirements from regulators do not directly address this challenge, switch trials of biosimilars have emerged that may provide further answers. Using infliximab in inflammatory bowel disease as an example, we critically examine emerging evidence from two key switch trials (NOR-SWITCH and NCT020968610) and discuss the clinical and economic implications of these and what policy options may be most reasonable for payers. Options include reimbursing biosimilars for only newly diagnosed patients, using product-listing agreements to manage uncertainty, or using tiered co-payments or other incentives to promote biosimilar use.

Publication types

  • Comment

MeSH terms

  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Biosimilar Pharmaceuticals*
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Humans
  • Inflammatory Bowel Diseases*
  • Infliximab


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Biosimilar Pharmaceuticals
  • CT-P13
  • Infliximab

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT02096861