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News & Trends - Pharmaceuticals

Will AbbVie’s life cycle extension strategies set Humira apart from the biosimilars?

Health Industry Hub | March 30, 2021 |

Pharma News: AbbVie Australia announced that a new formulation of HUMIRA will be available on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) from 1 April 2021.

Two new Humira (adalimumab) biosimilars are also eligible for reimbursement from April 1st – HADLIMA (commercialised by MSD and manufactured by Korea’s Samsung Bioepis) and Fresenius Kabi’s IDACIO.

AbbVie’s life cycle extension strategies aim to set Humira apart from the biosimilars in the market.

The removal of citrate and other inactive ingredients from Humira, as well as the introduction of a new autoinjector pen and a reduced injection volume, are all part of AbbVie’s commitment to take patient feedback on board and innovate to support adherence to treatment.

The new autoinjector pen has also been designed to simplify the injection process and increase injection confidence. In a patient survey (N=476), more patients (65%) preferred the new, re-designed pen compared to the previous pen (35%).

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Dr Edward Giles, Consultant Paediatric Gastroenterologist at Monash Children’s Hospital, said this is welcome news for Australian patients who self-administer their treatment.

“For many of my young patients with Crohn’s Disease, Humira is keeping their disease under control, keeping them out of hospital and in school. Anything that makes the experience of taking their long-term medication easier will be welcomed by patients and their families,” said Dr Giles.

Chris Stemple, General Manager and Vice President of AbbVie Australia, said “We are proud that innovation and research has led to subsidised access to the Humira citrate-free formulation for eligible Australians with autoimmune diseases. Developing this formulation is part of our ongoing commitment to invest in continued development of our medicines to support patients and their adherence to treatment.”

MSD’s Biosimilar Business Unit Director, Michael Van Lathum, said “HADLIMA plays an important role in providing patients with treatment choice and this listing furthers our commitment to creating a sustainable PBS by using biosimilars to help reduce the cost of medicines for Australian taxpayers.”

Martin Monaghan, Country Manager, Australia and New Zealand said “It is an exciting moment and an important milestone for us as a company to launch our first biosimilar product in Australia. Biosimilars are an important contributing factor to the sustainability of the PBS and in line with our philosophy of ‘caring for life’ the launch of IDACIO provides a new adalimumab choice for patients suffering with autoimmune disease.”

Humira, with $300 million in sales in 2020, is currently indicated for 10 autoimmune conditions across rheumatology, dermatology, gastroenterology and ophthalmology in Australia.


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