Branded biologic medicines are driving a large share of hospital pharmacy costs, a trend expected to continue in 2020 as prescription drug spending by hospitals is predicted to rise by more than 4.5 percent overall1.
As these expenditures continue to outpace inflation, it is now more important than ever to enable robust biosimilar competition in the marketplace. Biosimilars can help create needed savings for health systems and patients, but delays to their large-scale clinical adoption has come at a heavy cost to the U.S. healthcare system, with an estimated $7.6 billion savings lost since 20152.
There is an encouraging sign for healthcare executives looking for immediate solutions to rising expenditures. In cancer care, one biosimilar medicine in particular is demonstrating promising returns for early adopters. Zarxio® (filgrastim-sndz), a short-acting medication used to decrease the incidence of febrile neutropenia in patients undergoing chemotherapy, has saved U.S. healthcare systems about $500 million in less than two years3.
When utilizing biosimilar options, savings have been realized by integrated delivery networks, payers and patients alike. For example, Yale New Haven Health System, Robert Wood Johnson Barnabas Healthcare System, and Carolina Blood and Cancer Care realized significant savings when switching to Zarxio4-6. Additionally, patients prescribed this medicine may save an average of 10 percent in out-of-pocket costs per year7.
These savings may soon be even more significant in the oncology supportive care therapeutic area, as a long-acting filgrastim option, Ziextenzo™ (pegfilgrastim-bmez), is now available to treat febrile neutropenia in the U.S.
A study has shown that each year in the U.S., more than 60,000 cancer patients are hospitalized with evidence of neutropenia, including fever or infection, with more than 4,000 deaths as a result8. Patient needs vary amongst the tens of thousands of people who undergo chemotherapy, making it critical for physicians to have both long- and short-acting filgrastim treatment options.
“Biosimilar uptake has been limited in the U.S. due to a variety of challenges, but when these medicines are available as treatment options, they have been shown to create significant value without compromising clinical outcomes,” said Carol Lynch, President of Sandoz Inc., the manufacturer of Zarxio and Ziextenzo. “We’ve learned that one key to optimizing the clinical adoption of biosimilars is by providing healthcare decision makers and their staffs with the right tools and information, in addition to ensuring a consistent supply of our medicines.”
Lynch pointed to the Sandoz One Source offering as a resource for patients, which also helps streamline billing and coding processes for clinical staff. This program delivers prior authorization and reimbursement support for Sandoz biosimilars in addition to other numerous patient resources.
“It’s exciting to see these instances where biosimilar adoption has led to significant savings at different types of health systems across the country,” Lynch said. “Now is the time to realize their full potential and provide even more options to healthcare executives looking to control costs and deliver on our mutual mission of improving patient lives.”
Healthcare purchasers, providers and executives interested in learning more about Ziextenzo can visit: www.ziextenzo.com