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NHS to save £300 million by switching to Humira biosimilars

Published on 27/11/18 at 11:49am

NHS England has announced that the health service is set to save £300 million by switching to biosimilar versions of AbbVie’s best-selling anti-inflammatory drug Humira (adalimumab), bringing the current annual total spent on the drug down by 75%.

The saving is the biggest saving in NHS history from a single drug negotiation and comes in at twice as much as previous estimates. The organisation said that the savings would be enough to pay for 11,700 more community nurses or 19,800 more breast cancer treatments.

The deal means the health service is on track with its plan to cut £300 million from its yearly expenditure on medicines by 2021 by utilising biologic drugs, and could reach that target a year earlier.  NHS England has confirmed it has accepted bids for Humira biosimilars from Amgen, Biogen, Sandoz, and Mylan and Fujifilm Kyowa Kirin. The alternative versions will be available to patients in December.

Adalimumab, the world’s best-selling drug, is used in a number of indications including rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis and inflammatory bowel disease, and is prescribed to around 46,000 patients.

“As part of the NHS’s Long Term Plan we are ensuring every penny of extra investment is wisely spent. Harnessing the power of competition between drug companies, NHS England has now freed up hundreds of millions of pounds of savings to reinvest in patient care,” commented Simon Stevens, NHS England’s Chief Executive. “By working with patients and frontline clinicians we’ve now successfully negotiated the biggest ever set of savings on what was the NHS’s most costly drug. This is another example of how the smarter approach to biosimilar medicines in the UK and Europe gives patients and taxpayers a much better deal than they get in the United States.”

Matt Fellows

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