Biosimilars have come of age over the past 17 years, with 84 approvals in the EU and 35 in the US, representing almost 90% of the world market. While the acceptance of biosimilars in the US is catching up with that in the EU, the cost benefits remain elusive due to the high development barrier and complex distribution system involved, mainly in the US. In the EU, the cost of biosimilars has already dropped 70% or more, and interchangeability is a routine in some European jurisdictions, unlike in the US, where a separate regulatory approval is required. This paper projects significant changes coming in the US and EU’s biosimilars approval requirements that will impact the approval procedures in the rest of the world, leading to dramatic changes in the cost of biosimilars to patients. This perspective is based on the author’s first-hand experience to secure FDA approvals of biosimilars and an extensive analysis of the rationality of testing to demonstrate biosimilarity. Multiple citizen petitions by the author and meetings with the FDA may have prompted the recent announcement by the FDA to award a $5 million research grant to scientists to develop novel testing models to establish biosimilarity, including modifying the interchangeability protocols. Soon, demonstration of biosimilarity will not require animal testing and, in most cases, clinical efficacy testing; over time, the clinical pharmacology testing will be reduced as the regulatory agencies develop more confidence in the safety and efficacy of biosimilars. Biosimilars have come of age; now it is the turn of the developers to grow up, and one way to show this is to challenge the current regulatory guidelines but only on scientific grounds to seek more concessions, for which both FDA and EMA are ready.
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