Dr. Brufsky Addresses Biosimilar Skepticism

Partner | Cancer Centers | <b>UPMC Hillman Cancer Center</b>

Adam M. Brufsky, MD, PhD, professor of medicine, associate chief, Division of Hematology/Oncology, co-director, Comprehensive Breast Cancer Center, associate director, Clinical Investigation, University of Pittsburgh, addresses biosimilar skepticism.

Adam M. Brufsky, MD, PhD, professor of medicine, associate chief, Division of Hematology/Oncology, co-director, Comprehensive Breast Cancer Center, associate director, Clinical Investigation, University of Pittsburgh, addresses biosimilar skepticism.

Biosimilars must be similar to the reference product in terms of biology, and the means in which a biosimilar is tested for approval are stringent. Still, some in the oncology community doubt the utility of biosimilars as an alternative to the more expensive, but more well-established, biologics such as trastuzumab (Herceptin) and rituximab (Rituxan). Considering their widespread use in Europe, oncology professionals should not be wary of biosimilars, Brufsky says. Biosimilars for biologics like rituximab have been in use in Europe and the UK for years.

In terms of cost, data from Europe have shown that with biosimilar use, the cost of the treatment of HER2-positive breast cancer has decreased by about 30%. Brufsky suspects that the cost will go down in the US as well, because when there is competition, the cost of care goes down. This is incumbent on the biosimilar developers, though. Unless there is a 15% to 25% reduction in cost, Brufsky says he would not consider switching to biosimilars.