Self-Insured Employers Could Have Saved Up to $1.4 Billion in 2018 with Lower-Cost Biosimilars

New study finds 13 employers could have saved more than $400 million in 2018 if lower-cost biosimilars were prescribed to plan employees instead of two higher-priced biologics.

Washington, DC — Employers could have saved more than $400 million, and generated $1.4 billion in savings for self-insured companies, in 2018 if their insurance plans replaced two biologics with lower-cost biosimilars, according to a new study published today by the ERISA Industry Committee (ERIC). Additionally, ERIC found that in 2018 Medicare Part B could have saved as much as $279 million in the same time period–unnecessarily burdening taxpayers with this higher cost. 

After reviewing ERIC’s findings, The Biosimilars Forum called for policy action to increase access to biosimilars and help lower drug costs for Americans by passing already introduced legislation or implementing regulatory changes:

At this critical moment, The Biosimilars Forum calls on the President and Congress to unlock the full potential of biosimilars to help employers, seniors and taxpayers save billions in health care costs,” said Juliana Reed, President of the Biosimilars Forum. “Employers and their employees are being forced into paying higher prices because misaligned incentives are blocking access to biosimilars. As we navigate this unprecedented moment in our country’s history, we encourage Congress to include cost-saving, bipartisan biosimilar policies already introduced in the next stimulus package to increase access to the next generation of lower-cost medicines.

More than 180 million Americans have health insurance coverage through their employer, making up the largest proportion of the insured population. This study aimed to identify the potential savings that 13 of the largest employers, members of ERIC including their employees and families covered by these plans, could realize if the current demand for reference biologics was fully replaced by lower-cost biosimilars.

Biologics are driving up health care costs; they are the single biggest drivers of prescription drug spending. Biosimilars have the potential to save the U.S. healthcare system up to $150 billion over the next ten years, and every minute we waste blocking competition and access to these lower-cost drugs, patients and employers are losing money.

ERIC analyzed two biologics with available biosimilars to determine that employer plans could have saved. While the study was limited to the two biologics, infliximab and filgrastim, today a total of 16 biosimilars have launched for 9 originator biologics. Given the increased availability of lower-cost alternatives to biologics, employers and its insurers could be saving billions more if employers had more access to biosimilars. To learn more about the bipartisan biosimilar policies that can lower drug costs visit The full details of the ERIC study can be found here

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