Pharmacy benefit manager Prime Therapeutics announced today that it will prefer Viatris’ (NSDQ:VTRS) Semglee insulin biosimilar injection on its national formularies as part of the pharmacy benefit.
In July, the FDA cleared the Semglee insulin glargine-yfgn injection, developed by Viatris in collaboration with Biocon Biologics, as a biosimilar for controlling high blood sugar in adults with type 2 diabetes and pediatric patients with type 1 diabetes.
The FDA approved Semglee as the first interchangeable biosimilar product under the 351(k) regulatory pathway. The product is sold in a pre-filled disposable pen. According to a news release, Semglee’s interchangeable designation means there are no clinical differences between it and the originator brand product, Lantus, allowing for substitution at the pharmacy (dependent on state pharmacy laws).
Prime Therapeutics said that biosimilars often have initial prices that are 15% to 35% lower than the reference products, which can save health plans and members hundreds of million of dollars, particularly with treatment costs in the diabetes population continuing to rise.
“This formulary change reinforces Prime’s commitment to increasing biosimilar adoption and also demonstrates that we are not beholden to rebates, as we’re able to also prefer the lowest net cost therapy,” Prime VP & Chief Trade Relations Officer Kelly Pokuta said in the release. “We’re at a pivotal moment in the U.S. drug landscape and this is a great win for payers and members.”
Prime said it anticipates no significant member disruption, while affordability will be comparable or better with the biosimilar. Clients will be able to choose the national formulary strategy for the commercial and health insurance marketplace members beginning on Jan. 1, 2022.
“This is really great news for people living with diabetes as biosimilars can deliver savings for patients without sacrificing safety and efficacy,” Prime CMO Dr. Joseph Leach said. “Payers and prescribers need to embrace these effective alternatives, just as they did years ago with generics, so we can help drive down rising health care costs for everyone.”