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International revenue for world's best-selling drug Humira falls 33.5% in the face of biosimilar competition

Published on 04/11/19 at 11:44am

With the release of its Q3 financial results, AbbVie confirmed that international revenues for its blockbuster therapy Humira (adalimumab) – the best-selling drug in the world – had taken a considerable hit in the face of biosimilar competition, falling 33.5% on a reported basis.

Total global revenues for the drug stood at $4.936 billion, a much stronger showing compared to the $1.049 billion generated internationally, and only fell by 3.7% overall. This was helped largely by US revenues, where sales for the drug actually increased by 9.6% as a result of a complete lack of biosimilar competition in the region until 2023.

The figures show just how much of a threat biosimilar therapy alternatives pose to the market dominance of products like Humira, and also why AbbVie has been so keen to protect its market exclusivity in the US.

They also illustrate the success of these biosimilar alternatives in the EU market, with recent IQVIA data indicating that adalimumab has a 57% uptake across the region’s five key national markets while discounts for the drug have reached 70-80%.

AbbVie will be counting on the successes of its rheumatoid arthritis drug Rinvoq and plaque psoriasis therapy risankizumab to make up for these diminishing returns which will surely shrink further in coming years; Humira’s sales accounting for 61% of the company’s total revenues in 2018, and this had fallen to 27.9% by the first quarter of 2019.  

Matt Fellows

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