After seven Humira (adalimumab) biosimilars hit the market last month bringing the total to eight, Cigna Group’s pharmacy benefits manager (PBM) Express Scripts picked three to put on its National Preferred Formulary.
AbbVie’s blockbuster Humira is a tumor necrosis factor blocker indicated to treat several autoimmune conditions, including ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease.
From the list of eight total biosimilars now available to choose from, Express Scripts has decided on the following to add to its list of preferred products along with Humira: Boehringer Ingelheim’s low concentration formulation Cyltezo (adalimumab-adbm) and Sandoz’s high concentration formulations Hyrimoz (adalimumab-adaz) as well as another unbranded version with the same chemical name. Amjevita (adalimumab-atto), which came on the market in January, was already on the PBM’s formulary.
Cyltezo is the first and only interchangeable Humira biosimilar currently available. Biologics, such as Humira, are made from large complex molecules and thus are not exact replicas of the reference product the way generics are copies of small-molecule, brand-name drug. Approved interchangeable biosimilars may be switched between the reference biologic at the pharmacy without consultation with the prescriber.
Boehringer indicated that it will launch Cyltezo at a 5% to 7% discount from the Humira list price of $6,922 per month. Sandoz plans to price its unbranded adalimumab-adaz 81% under Humira’s list price and Hyrimoz at a 5% discount.
Express Scripts president Adam Kautzner, Pharm.D., commented on the potential savings the influx of Humira biosimilars can afford consumers. “In any industry, competition often leads to lower prices, and until recently, Humira had little competition. Since it was introduced, its list price increased by 470%, and by adding multiple clinically equivalent, cost-effective biosimilars to our formulary, we can now use the opportunity created by competition to drive greater savings for our clients and the nearly 100 million Americans we serve,” he said in press releasee,
He added, “Embracing biosimilars as they come to market builds on our efforts over the past decade to support greater adoption, just as we did when generics first became available over 30 years ago. We believe that, like generic medications, biosimilars can drive greater affordability for individuals with chronic and complex conditions who need it most.”