ICYMI: After Congress Approved $3 Trillion in Spending Amid the COVID-19 Pandemic, Biosimilars Can Reduce Health Care Costs for Employers and the U.S. Health Care System

Washington, DC — As the U.S. continues to battle the pandemic, employers, and the 180 million Americans that they provide health benefits to, are desperate to find savings to keep their businesses afloat.  Congress has authorized more than $3 trillion trying to both fight off the virus and keep our employers, health care system and economy running. 

A new Morning Consult op-ed, by President Annette Guarisco Fildes of The ERISA Industry Committee (ERIC), calls on Congress to increase availability and use of lower-cost biosimilars to bring relief to employers and address the most worrisome strain on their health budgets: the skyrocketing cost of specialty medicines. 

“While new treatments are being considered to take on COVID-19, we also need to drive down the costs of older, more expensive therapies. Right now, only two biologics face the multiple biosimilar competitors that economists say are needed to make an impact on their high costs,” wrote Guarisco Fildes. “Policymakers face many difficult trade-offs ahead. The good news is that supporting greater biosimilar availability and use does not require these kinds of hard choices.”

Biologics continue to drive up health care costs and they are the single biggest drivers of prescription drug spending. A recent study from ERIC showed that if employer-insurance plans replaced two biologics with lower-cost biosimilars, the employers could have saved more than $400 million and generated $1.4 billion in savings for self-insured companies in 2018. 

“Every day that passes without access to lower-cost biosimilars, employers, taxpayers and patients are missing out on substantial savings. We’re in the midst of an unprecedented moment in our country’s history and it is important that we begin to shift the conversation to policies that will reduce costs to employers and the U.S. health care system,” said Juliana Reed, President of the Biosimilars Forum. “Congress and the Administration can save up to $150 billion in health care savings over the next decade by increasing access to lower-cost biosimilars. The Biosimilars Forum encourages Congress to continue to move forward bipartisan legislation that will increase access and use of lower-cost biosimilars to save employers and taxpayers money.”

There are already several bipartisan proposals introduced in the House and Senate that Congress can act on quickly to recognize the cost-saving potential of biosimilars. These policies can increase access to and use of biosimilars — providing direct cost savings throughout the health care system.

To learn more about the cost-saving benefits of biosimilars and the bipartisan legislation already introduced, or speak to a representative from the Forum, contact forum@skdknick.com or visit supportbiosimilars.com. The full details of the ERIC study can be found here.