Thursday, September 25, 2014

Come January 2015, Merck May See Declines In Remicade®/Simponi® Franchise Growth Rate: NICE Proposal

Between now and then, each local level UK reimbursement authority will continue to adhere to its own reimbursement policies regarding the pair. After the NICE proposal becomes final, though, the pressure on reimbursement will be locked in, in England, and spread across the channel, in all likelyhood -- and ultimately lead to reimbursement levels more deeply curtailed -- for the duo, across the EU. As goes the UK, so goes EU -- quite commonly, in these matters. . . eventually.

Recall that Merck's single largest retained geography on this franchise is the United Kingdom and the EU, after the settlement of the J&J arbitration (with the termination fight occasioned by the S-P reverse merger). We shall see, but it would seem that the past year's impressive growth in the Simponi®/Remicade® revenue stream (driven largely by EU growth) may be drawing to a gradual close. Here is PM Live! on it all:

. . . .In draft guidance the Institute says [Merck's] Remicade (Infliximab) and Simponi (golimumab), and AbbVie's Humira adalimumab) have not been proven to be more cost effective than current available treatments.[Ed. Note: Those being "biosimilars" (essentially generic biological agents) -- approved last summer -- and made by Celltrion, and Hospira.]

This is despite MSD agreeing a patient access scheme with the Department of Health to make a 100 mg dose of Simponi (which costs £1,525.94) available to the NHS at the same cost as the 50 mg dose (£762.97).

Including the patient access scheme and assuming the recommended dosage is followed, the cost of Simponi induction therapy is £2,289 and its monthly cost for maintenance therapy is £763.

Meanwhile, the cost of Remicade induction therapy at its recommended dose is £5,035 and the monthly cost of maintenance therapy is £210 and induction therapy with Humira costs £2,113 and it has a monthly cost for maintenance therapy of £704. . . .

Obviously, the EU biosimilar approvals of last year (see archive graphic, at right) are taking hold in the minds of the reimbursement crowd in the United Kingdom, and soon -- the EU, I predict. Do stay tuned.

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