The Food and Drug Administration, continuing their record-breaking pace of new drug approvals, recently gave Amgen the green-light for the first ever “biosimilar” copycat of a cancer drug. The new treatment, Mvasi, is approved in the same cancer indications as Roche’s cancer therapy, the drug Avastin.
Like most cancer drugs, Avastin is expensive, bringing in nearly $7 billion in global sales, including $3 billion in the United States. Amgen and partner Allergan have yet to release details on pricing for Mvasi, but in a statement from FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb:
“Bringing new biosimilars to patients, especially for diseases where the cost of existing treatments can be high, is an important way to help spur competition that can lower healthcare costs and increase access to important therapies. We’ll continue to work hard to ensure that biosimilar medications are brought to the market quickly, through a process that makes certain that these new medicines meet the FDA’s rigorous gold standard for safety and effectiveness.”
Only time will tell how much biosimilar drugs like Mvasi will affect healthcare spending, or if pricing will translate into savings for patients over the long term.
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