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Biosimilar pharmaceuticals

Switching to 'best-value' generics and biosimilars saved the NHS £294m in 2018/2019, figures show

The uptake of ‘best-value’ medicines, such as generics and biosimilars, saved the NHS £294m in 2018/2019, according to figures released by NHS England.

According to the figures, best-value biologic uptake of adalimumab, which is used to treat conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, resulted in savings of more than £109m in the 2018/2019 financial year. Adalimumab was previously a medicine on which NHS hospitals spent more than £400m per year.

Collectively, more than £137m was saved from the best-value biologic uptake of trastuzumab, infliximab, etanercept and rituximab in 2018/2019, while the generic uptake of the cancer drug imatinib resulted in more than £18m of savings.

Other medicines listed in the figures included prednisolone soluble, for the treatment of asthma; linezolid, for the treatment of bacterial infection; and valganciclovir, voriconazole and caspofungin for the treatment of fungal infections.

“Use of the best-value versions of expensive medicines is already delivering effective treatment for patients across the NHS … offering the right care for patients while saving the tax payer hundreds of millions of pounds,” said Simon Steven, chief executive of NHS England.

NHS England has said that the money saved will be reinvested in “other new, innovative and cost-effective treatments”.

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2019.20207022

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