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Biosimilars and Branded Insulins

Conference Annotation with Vivian A. Fonseca / ADA 76th Scientific Sessions, New Orleans, June ‘16

Elsevier Digital Insulin Educational Programme: Extra Fonseca nr 2

Professor Fonseca, Tullis–Tulane Alumni Chair in Diabetes, Tulane University of Medicine, New Orleans, reflects upon biosimilar insulins and branded insulin analogs at the recent 76th scientific session of the American Diabetes Association 2016 in New Orleans, US, June 10-14.  

Effects of manufacturing

Biosimilars are biological products that are the reproductions of biopharmaceuticals. A couple of trials presented at the ADA compared biosimilars insulin glargine with insulin analog glargine. Glargine is currently on the market, the biosimilar will become available soon. These insulin analogs are both designed to be as close as possible, but are not totally identical replicas because of the manufacturing process. Safety and efficacy of the biosimilars are comparable to the originators, otherwise the FDA would not approve them. Potentially the biosimilars could be offered at a lower price than the brand name insulin analogs - a benefit for the patients. The long-term effect of the manufacturing process has to be evaluated with regard to antibody formation that might have an impact for individual patients.

Patient awareness

As more and more biosimilars will be manufactured, it will be relevant that patients and physicians are aware which particular brand or biosimilar they are using. A switch from one to another might have consequences over time. Overall patients will benefit from a bigger range of products available.

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