Editor’s Memo

Biosimilars Fit Like a Glove


Peter Wehrwein

For most of its almost 27 years, Managed Care has published every month as a print publication. That’s not all we do. We have a newsy, award-winning website. We publish two e-newsletters a week.

But print publication is where we’re rooted. We have no plans (and no plans to make plans) to abandon it.

But roots are no excuse for not innovating, so we’re trying something different this month. Actually, two things. First, you’re looking at the first-ever printless edition of Managed Care; it lives, instead, as a digital edition and, disaggregated, as content on our website. Going printless does, of course, avoid printing and mailing expenses. Second innovation: An entire issue devoted to a single topic, biosimilars.

So much of the worry about health care costs these days is focused on pharmaceuticals. Biologics are, of course, a major reason for rising costs. Biosimilars are supposed to help tamp down costs by doing unto biologics and their prices what generics did unto branded, small-molecule drugs (before, alas, generics started to get expensive as the competition among them waned). We’re looking at biosimilars from multiple perspectives in this issue. On page 5, Contributing Editor Richard Mark Kirkner reports on the prospects for FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb’s “biologics action plan.” Susan Ladika’s story on page 7 discusses the case of Humira, which accounts for just over 60% of AbbVie’s sales; little wonder that the company has moved to fend off biosimilars. I learned a lot from my conversation with Gary Lyman, MD, (page 12), including why tossing biosimilars into the disjointed, messy, and messed-up American health care system may be a cost-cutting drop in the bucket rather than a sea change.

So biosimilars would be a suitable topic for any issue of our publication, but they fit this ePub issue of Managed Care like a glove, which is similar but not identical to our print-based efforts: just as effective (we hope) but also less costly.

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