This briefing discussed the national framework agreement put in place by NHS England after accepting bids from five manufacturers for adalimumab. This biological medicine was under patent and marketed by its manufacturer AbbVie as Humira®, but the patent expired in October 2018. This caused great interest at NHS England, as Humira® is the biggest drug by expenditure in the UK and other territories.
The following biosimilars have been approved for patients who would previously have been prescribed Humira® with no alternative: Amgen’s Amgevita®, Biogen’s Imraldi®, Mylan’s Hulio® and Sandoz’s Hyrimoz®. The briefing states that it is for the clinician, in conjunction with the patient, to decide if one of these biosimilars is the appropriate treatment, but that Humira® remains an option to be used when required. However, there is pressure to save money. As the briefing says:
“NHS England has issued guidance to trusts and CCGs recommending that nine out of 10 new patients should be started on the best value biological medicine within three months of a biosimilar launch. At least 80% of existing patients should be switched to the best value biological medicine within 12 months.”
The full briefing is available here, and contains detailed descriptions of the availability of the originator product and its biosimilars in each NHS England region.