Johnson & Johnson Comments on Remicade Sales Decline, Biosimilar Competition

Last week, Johnson & Johnson held its earnings call for the fourth quarter of 2017.  During the call, company representatives discussed an 8% decline in U.S. sales for Remicade as Johnson & Johnson “continued to compete in the phase of biosimilar entries.”  As we previously reported, there are two biosimilars to Remicade (infliximab) available in the U.S.:  Merck & Co. and Samsung Bioepis’ Renflexis and Celltrion and Hospira’s Inflectra.  A third infliximab biosimilar, Pfizer’s Ixifi, was approved by FDA last month, but Pfizer reportedly has no plans to launch the product in the U.S.

During the call, Johnson & Johnson said that the Remicade sales decline was “primarily driven by negative price.”  In particular, Remicade maintained well over 90% of its volume, such that “all of the change” in Q4 “was associated with price declines.”

Despite the decline, Johnson & Johnson stated that it “saw far less of an impact in 2017 than [it] had expected.”  However, the company expects to see an “acceleration of [the] biosimilar impact to REMICADE” in 2018.  Further, the company’s “sales guidance for 2018 includes . . . REMICADE biosimilars which [it] still consider[s] to be at risk to the ongoing patent litigation.”

The full transcript of the earnings call can be found here.