Biosimilars May Be More Cost Effective in Follicular Lymphoma Treatment

Biosimilars have shown to be cost-effective treatments in oncology and hematology, according to Jacopo Giuliani, MD.

Biosimilars have shown to be cost-effective treatments in oncology and hematology, according to Jacopo Giuliani, MD.

“The price of newly registered oncologic drugs is continuously increasing, posing a serious threat to the sustainability of the National Health Systems, especially in countries where the public control and oversight over the prices is limited,” Giuliani, a physician in the Department of Oncology, Mater Salutis Hospital in Legnago, Italy, said in an interview with OncLiveCancer NetworkÒ’s sister publication.

“Medical oncologists and the society as a whole are becoming more and more concerned with the issues of the costs to cure patients with cancer,” he added. “[Medical oncologists] are able to bring attention to the ‘just price’ of new treatments that must reflect the reality of their true benefits, including societal and personal costs.”

An analysis evaluated 5 phase III randomized-controlled trials, which included 2362 patients. to determine the economic impact of biosimilars in oncology and hematology.

Giuliani and colleagues found that biosimilars for rituximab (Rituxan) and trastuzumab (Herceptin) offer economic benefit compared with their reference drugs as first-line treatment in follicular lymphoma and as neoadjuvant breast cancer treatment.

“[I wanted] to assess the pharmacological costs of trastuzumab and rituximab originator versus the corresponding approved biosimilars and their effectiveness of the latter as treatment options,” he said. “We choose to consider trastuzumab and rituximab as paradigmatic examples, with their greatest impact on drug expenditure in oncology and hematology units, respectively.”

The researchers calculated the pharmacological costs necessary to get the benefit in the cancer outcomes using time to treatment failure and pathologic complete response in the biosimilar versus originator arms of each trial. “Calculations were based on an ‘ideal patient’ (Body surface area 1.8 m2; weight 70 kg). The dosage of drugs was considered according to what is reported in each (randomized-controlled trial),” Giuliani said.

Translated from euros, the biosimilar to rituximab saved approximately $304.38, compared with rituximab, each month. Similarly, the biosimilar to trastuzumab saved about $3647.25 compared with its counterpart each month. Moreover, the data indicated that biosimilars cost about 40% less than the originator.

In the US, the FDA has approved 5 trastuzumab biosimilars: MYL-1401O (Ogivri; trastuzumab-dkst), CT-P6 (Herzuma; trastuzumab-pkrb), SB3 (Ontruzant; trastuzumab-dttb), PF-05280014 (Trazimera; trastuzumab-qyyp), and ABP 980 (Kanjinti; trastuzumab-anns). In addition, 2 rituximab biosimilars are also approved by the FDA: CT-P10 (Truxima; rituximab-abbs) and PF-05280586 (rituximab-pvvr; Ruxience).

Moreover, there are potentially different monoclonal antibodies and granulocyte colony stimulating factors also in development. Giuliani noted that a similar analysis should be conducted in the United States. 


This article was adapted from an article that originally appeared on OncLive, titled “Rituximab and Trastuzumab Biosimilars Shown to Have Economic Advantage Over Originators.