Russian biosims company accuses Roche of undercutting its business
- Russian biosimilars maker Biocad has accused Roche of lowering the prices on three of its cancer drugs as part of a deliberate effort to undercut Biocad and price the company out of the Russian market, Stat reports. Biocad says it makes biosimilar versions of the three drugs in Russia.
- According to Biocad, Roche aimed to "destroy" its competing business and raised prices of the drugs in the U.S. in order to make up losses in the Russian market.
- Filing suit in federal court in New York, Biocad is asking for damages to compensate for what it calls "predatory anti-competitive conduct." Biocad had planned to attempt entry into the U.S. market after Roche's exclusivity rights expired three years from now.
While Biocad's lawsuit may be a long-shot, the legal action speaks to the growing biosimilar market in the U.S., as well as the potential other drug makers see in grabbing a slice of the sales racked up by major biologics, including Roche's drugs.
The FDA has already approved two biosimilar drugs, Novartis' Zarxio and Celltrion/Pfizer's Inflectra. But there are a number of others awaiting a regulatory decision and several companies are pushing hard on development.
Biosimilars are expected to substantially lower costs compared to branded biologics, some of which still command high prices. While the difference in price between biosimilars and biologics may not be as great as the gap between generics and pharmaceuticals, the impact for payers and patients could be notable.
A recent report from IMS Health predicted the introduction of biosimilars for top-selling biologics could save the U.S. and European healthcare systems as much as $110 billion through 2020.
But biologics makers won't give up their turf easily. Amgen is currently battling Novartis in the Supreme Court over when biosimilar companies can launch their products, while other brand-name drugmakers have said they will vigorously defend their patents.