Update on Ireland’s Framework Agreement

Last fall, we reported on Pfizer’s 30% price cut to Enbrel® (etanercept) to comply with Ireland’s Framework Agreement on the Supply and Pricing of Medicines, which requires price reductions for off-patent branded biologic medicines for which biosimilars are available.  Yesterday, the Irish Times published a follow-up article describing some of the market effects of the Framework Agreement.

The Irish Times reports that in the last 2 months of 2016,  Enbrel “sold almost 10,000 packets” compared with “three packets” of Biogen’s etanercept biosimilar, Benepali®.  A similar contrast in sales between another set of drugs is also cited in the article, with Eli Lilly and Boehringer Ingelheim’s insulin glargine biosimilar, Abasaglar® “selling only 18 packets while [Sanofi’s branded biologic] Lantus® was selling 12,172” by December 2016.

If these early sales figures end up being representative of how the Framework Agreement will impact the market share of biosimilars, biosimilar manufacturers may need to re-think their pricing and discounting strategies for the Irish market.