AbbVie’s Humira Loses Only 4% of Market Share to Biosimilars: Report

AbbVie

Pictured: AbbVie's corporate office in South San Francisco, California/iStock, vzphotos

Despite hitting the market more than a year ago with steep discounts, biosimilars for AbbVie’s blockbuster arthritis treatment Humira (adalimumab) have managed to take only 4% of the market share away from the branded reference product, according to the latest quarterly report from Samsung Bioepis.

As of February 2024, Humira still controls 96% of the market, finds the report. Still, biosimilars seem to be slowly gaining ground. Compared with the previous quarter, market share for the copycat products rose 2%, according to Samsung Bioepis.

Humira biosimilars first entered the U.S. in January 2023, led by Amgen’s Amjevita (adalimumab-atto). A few months later, several other companies launched their own products including Celltrino’s Yuflyma (adalimumab-aaty), Sandoz’s Hyrimoz (adalimumab-adaz) as well as Organon and Samsung Bioepis’ Hadlima (adalimumab-bwwd).

Boehringer Ingelheim also debuted its own biosimilar Cyltezo (adalimumab-adbm), which at the time was the only interchangeable product, allowing it to be substituted for the branded product without needing to change the prescription.

Most recently, Alvotech and Teva won the FDA’s approval for their own copycat product Simlandi (adalimumab-ryvk), following years of regulatory difficulties. Like Cyltezo, Simlandi is interchangeable with the reference product and is the first high-concentration citrate-free Humira biosimilar.

These biosimilar manufacturers have found it difficult to break Humira’s hold on the market despite offering steep discounts. Hadlima and Yusimry cost around 85% to 86% lower than Humira, respectively, according to Samsung Bioepis’ report. Most companies also offer flexible pricing options, with dual or multiple price points, but have still failed to pose a real threat to Humira.

Boehringer Ingelheim launched an unbranded version of Cyltezo in October 2023 at a wholesale acquisition cost 81% lower than Humira. However, uptake for the biosimilar has remained slow, pushing the company last week to lay off an undisclosed number of its sales staff and transition to a hybrid model.

In justifying the changes to its sales approach, Boehringer Ingelheim pointed to pharmacy benefit managers (PBM), which have chosen to keep Humira on their list of drugs up for reimbursement, which have allowed patients to choose the branded product over biosimilars.

A report earlier this month from healthcare analytics firm Iqvia also identified PBMs as a key barrier to greater biosimilar uptake. Transitioning all adalimumab-treated patients to biosimilars could generate up to $6 billion in savings for the U.S. healthcare system but would cost PBMs around 84% of their profits.

Nevertheless, the Iqvia report expects “more favorable payer access” this year, especially as the three biggest formularies are set to shift their coverage. Starting this month, CVS Caremark removed Humira from its major national commercial template formularies in favor of biosimilars. At the same time, Humira will still stay on CVS Caremark’s Choice and Standard Opt Out commercial formularies.

Tristan Manalac is an independent science writer based in Metro Manila, Philippines. Reach out to him on LinkedIn or email him at tristan@tristanmanalac.com or tristan.manalac@biospace.com.

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