Background The high price of biological drugs has become progressively unsustainable to the national health system. The development of biosimilar drugs might represent an option in reducing healthcare costs.
Purpose To analyse the economic impact of incorporating biosimilar infliximab (BI) in a second-level hospital.
Material and methods Retrospective, observational study that includes all patients treated with reference infliximab (RI) and BI during a year (October 2016 to September 2017).
Data collected (number of patients and consumption of vials) were obtained from the pharmacy service software. Costs were calculated using hospital-specific tender price (280.8€/vial for RI and 209.06€/vial for BI).
Total annual costs and by clinical services (digestive and dermatology).
Annual saving due to the incorporation of BI.
Hypothetical saving of the annual total cost and for each service when exclusively using BI, compared to the cost that would have been used for RI only.
Results In our hospital BI represents a saving of 71.74€/vial (25.55%) with respect to RI. Dermatology rejected the introduction of BI and digestive accepted the use of BI in new patients but not the switching.
Patients on treatment: 18.10 (55.6%) with RI and 8 (44.4%) with BI.
Total annual cost: 136,466.24€, 97,999.2€ (71.81%) for RI and 38,467.04€ (28.18%) for BI. Hypothetical annual cost in the case of having used exclusively RI: 149,666.4€.
Real annual saving (due to the incorporation of BI and its coexistence with RI): 13,200.16€ (8.82%).
Hypothetical total annual cost and saving in the case of having used BI exclusively: 111,428.98€ and 38,237.42€ (25.55%) respectively.
Patients treated by the dermatology service: six (33.3%). Cost: 51,667.2€ (37.86% of the total cost). Hypothetical cost and saving by using BI only: 38,467.04€ and 13,200.16€ (25.55%) respectively.
Patients treated by the digestive service: four (22.2%) with RI and 8 (44.4%) with BI. Cost: 46,332€ and 38,467.04€ (33.95% and 28.19% of the total cost) respectively. Hypothetical cost of having used only RI: 97,999.2€. Hypothetical cost and saving by using only BI: 72,961.94€ and 25,037.26€ (25.55%) respectively.
Conclusion Biosimilar infliximab represents a great saving for the health system, helping its economic sustainability and accessing healthcare for a huge number of patients.
No conflict of interest
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