Boehringer Ingelheim, the company that recently introduced the first interchangeable biosimilar to AbbVie’s blockbuster drug Humira, is now embracing a dual-pricing strategy within the industry. Following the launch of its branded Humira biosimilar, Cyltezo, in July, Boehringer has unveiled an unbranded version of the inflammatory disease medication, simply named adalimumab-adbm injection. This unbranded biosimilar will be available at an 81% discount compared to Humira, whereas BI’s Cyltezo carries a 5% discount compared to the branded medication.
Currently, a one-month supply of Humira costs approximately $6,653 before any discounts, according to online sources.
Similar to Cyltezo, adalimumab-adbm is interchangeable, allowing pharmacists to substitute it for Humira directly at the pharmacy, much like the process for generic small-molecule drugs.
Amgen’s biosimilar, Amjevita, was the first Humira biosimilar to launch this year. After its introduction in January, several additional competitors entered the market in July, including Fresenius Kabi’s Idacio, Biocon Biologics’ Hulio, Organon and Samsung Bioepis’ Hadlima, and Sandoz’s Hyrimoz.
Like Boehringer, Amgen also introduced its biosimilar at two different pricing levels: one at 55% below Humira’s list price and the other at a 5% discount.
While deeper discounts may seem appealing, the more expensive biosimilars could gain favor with payers due to rebate dynamics. A similar approach was taken by Biocon and Viatris in 2021 when they launched the first interchangeable biosimilar in the U.S., Semglee, referencing Sanofi’s diabetes medication, Lantus. They offered both a branded and unbranded version that could be substituted for Sanofi’s product at the pharmacy.
Humira has long been AbbVie’s highest-grossing product and one of the world’s best-selling drugs, generating approximately $21.24 billion in global sales last year.
Also Read: Biocon Biologics’ CEO Reveals Pricing Strategy And Device Design For Hulio, Its Humira Biosimilar, In The US Market
However, despite the demand for more affordable alternatives, Humira biosimilars have not yet significantly impacted the market, according to a recent analysis by Spherix Global Insights. While there is ongoing erosion of Humira’s market share, healthcare prescribers, particularly dermatologists, have not fully embraced these newer biosimilars.
AbbVie has been preparing for the arrival of Humira biosimilars for years. In the second quarter, Humira’s revenues declined by 25% compared to the same period the previous year, totaling $4 billion. AbbVie CEO Richard Gonzalez noted that the situation was unfolding as projected, and the company now anticipates a 35% sales erosion for Humira this year, compared to the previous estimate of 37%.