South Korea-based Celltrion will begin selling Remsima, a biosimilar of rheumatoid arthritis drug Remicade, in Australia following its approval in that country. The company’s partner, Hospira, will handle marketing, distribution and sales operations for the drug.
Patents on top-selling biologic drugs will start expiring in 2017, creating a ripe market for biosimilar drugs, says Novartis CEO Joe Jimenez. Israel-based Teva Pharmaceutical Industries and South Korea-based Celltrion, along with the Sandoz unit of Switzerland-based Novartis, are among the companies working on biosimilars.
Arena Pharmaceuticals and Eisai agreed to expand their marketing deal for the obesity drug Belviq, or lorcaserin. The expanded agreement gives Eisai the right to sell Belviq in all countries except New Zealand, South Korea, Israel, Taiwan and Australia. In exchange, Eisai paid Arena $60 million.
The high price of innovation should be accepted because drugmakers invest great time and money to bring new treatments into the market, writes Peter J. Pitts, former FDA associate commissioner and president of the Center for Medicine in the Public Interest. Generic drugs make up eight of every 10 treatments in the world because of the risk-taking research of the biopharmaceutical industry, he writes. The high prices of advanced drugs shouldn't be feared because they give hope to millions of patients, Pitts writes.