Save Billions or Stick With Humira? Drug Brokers Steer Americans to the Costly Choice
By Editor - Tue Sep 19, 5:09 am
Tennessee last year spent $48 million on a single drug, Humira — about $62,000 for each of the 775 patients who were covered by its employee health insurance program and receiving the treatment. So when nine Humira knockoffs, known as biosimilars, hit the market for as little as $995 a month, the opportunity for savings appeared ample and immediate. But it isn’t here yet. Makers of biosimilars must still work within a health care system in which basic economics rarely seems to hold sway. For real competition to take hold, the big pharmacy benefit managers, or PBMs, the companies that negotiate prices and set the prescription drug menu for 80% of insured patients in the United States, would have to position the new drugs favorably in health plans. They haven’t, though the logic for doing so seems plain.
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