Kurt Tauer, MD, FACP, discusses arguments in favor of and against biosimilars in oncology.
Kurt W. Tauer, MD, FACP, associate professor, Department of Hematology/Oncology, the University of Tennessee Health Science Center, board member, National Comprehensive Cancer Network, and senior partner, chief of staff, West Cancer Center, discusses arguments in favor of and against biosimilars in oncology.
Tauer is excited about the use of biosimilars in oncology because they are equally efficacious to biologic therapies but could be prescribed at a reduced cost. Biosimilars are going to be a necessary part of the health system because the current cost of cancer treatment is not sustainable for patients. However, it is important to recognize that a big portion of cancer research is funded by pharmaceutical companies. If their profit margin is cut when biosimilars enter the market, there will be less funds to devote to cancer research.
Although the National Cancer Institute has done a tremendous amount of work in this regard, many of the major advances have come from pharmaceutical companies, says Tauer. Pharmaceutical companies make a large profit, but cutting their margin may not be advisable, as the government may not be able to supply the necessary funds to continue drug development, Tauer concludes.