Authors: Shashank R Joshi, Shivani Mittra, Praveen Raj, Viraj Ramesh Suvarna & Sandeep N Athalye
Date: Aug 21st, 2022
Introduction: For many of the 537 million adults living now with diabetes, the cost of insulin is becoming prohibitive as the insulin prices have tripled between 2002–2013. Globally, the direct annual cost of healthcare expenditure due to diabetes will soon be US$1 Trillion. Biosimilars provide access to high-quality, affordable biologic therapy that is otherwise inaccessible due to the high costs of original biologics.
Areas covered: A primer to the development of biosimilars shows comparable structural and analytical characterization to the original biologics (e.g. insulins), with no clinically significant or meaningful differences in efficacy and safety. ‘Interchangeability’ status, a regulatory designation by the US FDA, bestowed to some biosimilars, enables confidence in high-quality, bio-equivalent biosimilar of insulin with key global approvals. This can allow rapid uptake of biosimilars by the prescribers, formulary decision-makers, and payors. Biocon-Viatris’s biosimilar Insulin Glargine (Semglee®) is the first interchangeable biosimilar insulin approved by the US FDA.
Expert opinion: The ‘interchangeable’ status can prompt faster and wider uptake of insulin biosimilars and keep the insulin expenditure under control, especially for patients who otherwise practice non-adherence or rationing of life-saving insulin. Education, support, and awareness can ensure that interchangeable biosimilars gain wider acceptance.
Funding: This paper was funded by Biocon Biologics Ltd.