Journal of Medical Economics vol:12 issue:3 pages:211-218
Abstract Background and scope: This article discusses health economic challenges of research and development, registration, pricing and reimbursement of biopharmaceuticals and biosimilars. A literature search was carried out of PubMed, Centre for Reviews and Dissemination databases, Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews and EconLit up to March 2009. Findings: The development process of biopharmaceuticals is risky, lengthy, complex and expensive. Registration is complicated by the inherent variation between biopharmaceuticals. Also, as biopharmaceuticals are likely to be efficacious in a subgroup of the patient population, there is a need to select the most responsive target population and to identify biomarkers. To inform pricing and reimbursement decisions, the development process needs to collect comparative data to calculate the incremental cost effectiveness and budget impact of biopharmaceuticals. There is a role for innovative mechanisms such as risk-sharing arrangements to reimburse biopharmaceuticals. Conclusions: Given that biosimilars are similar, but not identical to the reference biopharmaceutical, the development process needs to generate clinical trial data in order to gain marketing authorisation. From a health economic perspective, the question arises whether inherent differences between biopharmaceuticals and biosimilars produce differences in safety, effectiveness and costs: to date, this question is unresolved. The early inclusion of health economics in the process of developing biopharmaceuticals and biosimilars is imperative with a view to demonstrating their relative (cost) effectiveness and informing registration, pricing and reimbursement decisions.