IMS Health Report: Delays in biosimilars contribute to rising specialty drug costs

November 4, 2013 11:51 AM

Biosimilar medications, which could have provided relief to the health care system as early as this year, have been delayed and now the demand for specialty medications – the often costly, complex medications prescribed in chronic care situations – will continue to escalate at a double digit pace through the end of the decade.

Those findings were presented at a conference hosted by the National Association of Specialty Pharmacy in San Antonio, TX.  The presentation, by IMS Health, showed that specialty medications will continue their robust growth through the end of the decade. IMS Health indicated the specialty market is $93 billion and will exceed $100 billion for the first time this year in sales.

While more patients are being treated with these cutting-edge specialty medications,  there will be a lack of biosimilar products in the marketplace to offset the escalating costs of specialty pharmaceuticals in 2014, a scenario many stakeholders had hoped to avoid.

At the beginning of the decade, health care analysts anticipated the passage of government regulations which would have permitted the introduction of biosimilars. Instead, regulatory pathways have been delayed. “Three and a-half years later we still do not have final biosimilar regulations.” said Doug Long, Vice President of Industry Relations for IMS Health, a leading health care information, services and technology company.

Gary M. Cohen, BSPharm, RPh, CSP, NASP CEO said the association can be instrumental in offsetting the costs through effective and efficient administration and optimization of specialty pharmaceuticals. “It is essential that we continue to empower our specialty pharmacists by providing them with tools and education to improve both clinical and economic outcomes,” Mr. Cohen said. “Our members represent all stakeholders and will continue to focus on aligning goals to improve the health of populations with specialty therapeutic needs.”

Source: National Association of Specialty Pharmacy press release

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