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FDA approves automatic use of cheaper generic insulin

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THURSDAY July 29, 2021 (HealthDay News)

US pharmacists will now be able to automatically substitute a cheaper biosimilar for more expensive branded insulin, the US Food and Drug Administration said on Wednesday.

Agency approval of an ‘interchangeable’ biosimilar could save diabetics and health plans millions each year, Associated press reported. Until now, doctors had to specifically prescribe a biosimilar or approve its replacement with a more expensive brand name insulin.

The FDA said on Wednesday that the biosimilar Semglee is interchangeable with the widely used, fast-acting insulin Lantus. A biosimilar is a close copy of an injected biologic drug that is made inside living cells, the Associated press reported.

A typical month’s supply of Semglee injection pens costs around $ 150 to $ 190 without insurance, compared to $ 340 to $ 520 for Lantus.

Semglee is from Viatris Inc., which is seeking FDA approval for another long-lasting insulin biosimilar.

From 2020 to 2024, savings from the use of biosimilars will exceed $ 100 billion in the United States, suggests health data company IQVIA.

Sales of biosimilars in the United States are lower than in Europe due to factors such as bureaucracy, length of patents and opposition from brand name drug manufacturers, PA noted.

Only 20 of the 29 biosimilars approved by the FDA – for cancer and immune disorders like rheumatoid arthritis – are currently available in the United States, said Sean McGowan, head of biosimilars at AmerisourceBergen, a major drug wholesaler. PA.

“These products are very similar, but much more affordable,” McGowan told the PA.

More information

Visit the National Institute of Diabetes, Digestive and Kidney Diseases to learn more about insulin.

THE SOURCE: Associated press

Robert Preidt and Robin Foster

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