Management of Arthritis using Biosimilar Molecules – an NHS perspective

Arthritis

Arthritis is an illness which affects numerous people and it results in the inflammation of the joints. It can affect one or multiple joints. There are several different forms of arthritis. Approximately 350 million people have Arthritis worldwide, with a total of 10 million of these people are living in the United Kingdom. This illness is treated by the use of a number of different drugs including a drug called Adalimumab. A protein called tumour necrosis factor (TNF) is produced by the immune system naturally. However, in arthritis, the inflammation is caused by a protein called tumour necrosis factor (TNF) being overproduced.

 

Adalimumab 

Adalimumab is a monoclonal antibody that acts as a TNF blocker. It it works by binding to the TNF molecules. The action of binding then prevents the molecules of TNF attaching to the body’s healthy cells. This then reduces inflammation of the joints.

 

My name is Lucy Field and I am a research Scientist at Future Genetics. I have just read an article that focuses on the development of a new drug which treats Arthritis.

 

Biosimilars

The new drug is a biosimilar version of Adalimumab. The development of this new drug has a positives impact on the NHS and their budget. The reasoning for this is because Adalimumab was a medicine that Hospitals spend nearly £400 million a year on making it a relatively expensive medicine. The new biosimilar version will only cost a quarter of this amount allowing the NHS to save up to £300 million a year by 2021. This outstanding cut from the national annual medicines bill is the biggest NHS saving from a single drug negotiation.

 

NHS Cost Savings

The money from this saving could be used to employ 11,700 more community nurses or 19,800 more breast cancer treatments for patients which could potentially save the lives of thousands of women. This highlights the importance of biosimilar drugs and how a smarter approach to biosimilar drugs across Europe gives patients and taxpayers a better deal.

The saving is due to negotiations with 5 new drug companies who will manufacture bio-similar versions of the dug. These companies are Amgen, Biogen, Mylan/Fujifilm Kyowa Kirin, Sandoz, and AbbVie. This comes after the exclusive patent for Adalimumab (Humira) expired. From December onwards, the new biosimilar versions of the drug from these new companies should be available.

According to the NHS 9 out of 10 new patients should be started on the best value medicine 3 months after the launch of the biosimilar medicine.

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