Boehringer’s sales tweak lays bare issues with US market for Humira biosimilars

05 Apr 2024
BiosimilarDrug Approval
Boehringer Ingelheim will overhaul its sales team for Cyltezo (adalimumab-adbm) amid lower than expected uptake of biosimilar versions of AbbVie’s Humira (adalimumab) in the US. The company confirmed to FirstWord on Friday that it will “streamline…customer-facing teams in favour of a hybrid in-person and virtual model” by June 30.
Cyltezo launched in July last year alongside a raft of Humira biosimilars, although it was the only product to have interchangeable status, and even gained a place on commercial formularies from pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) Optum Rx and Express Scripts. However, Boehringer said that despite this, the “adoption of Humira biosimilars at scale has not reached its anticipated potential.”
The drugmaker blamed the slow adoption on “the complexities of a complicated landscape and several challenges with PBMs keeping Humira on formulary.” Boehringer added that it remains committed to Cyltezo, which will remain accessible to patients.
Boehringer’s decision comes hot on the heels of continued efforts by the US government to boost uptake of biosimilars, something that has lagged in comparison to Europe. President Joe Biden’s budget for 2025 includes a provision that would allow substitution without the need for an interchangeable designation from the FDA.
Despite the setback, Boehringer said it continues to “believe that the utilisation of high-quality, lower cost biosimilars may improve the sustainability of the US healthcare system.” For related analysis, see Physician Views Results: Lack of financial incentive and prescriber confidence stalling adoption of biosimilar Humira products.
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