Unlike traditional pharmaceuticals that go off patent and immediately suffer from generic competition, biologic drugs on the other hand are not as easy to replicate. As a result, biotech companies maintain the market share for their drug much longer than chemically produced drugs. However, Pfizer is about to change the game, as they plan to launch one of the first biosimilar drugs, a substitute for J&J’s rheumatoid-arthritis treatment, Remicade. Pfizer plans to roll out the first batch of Inflectra in late November, and price the product at a 15% discount to Remicade.
This breakthrough news has definitely sparked controversy within the industry, especially from J&J. The company recently released a statement vowing to “defend our intellectual property rights”. The company also is proud of their “well established profile” of over 2.6 million patients, and are confident that Inflectra cannot penetrate the market immediately.
J&J has some strategy to reconsider in the upcoming months, as rheumatoid-arthritis is a lucrative business and drew in 4.5 billion in sales for the company in the previous year.
It is estimated that Inflectra could spark a one billion dollar loss for J&J for the 2017 fiscal year. Likely, the incentive will target new patients, as those who are stable and loyal to Remicade will be less incentivized to risk their recovery for a 15% discount.
To read more from the WSJ about Pfizer’s new biosimilar drug, click here.