With the announcement that Pfizer has formally launched its bevacizumab biosimilar Zirabev®, the next logical question is how the price compares with the competition—Roche’s brand Avastin® and Amgen’s biosimilar Mvasi® that are already available.
At Pfizer’s stated pricing of $61.34 for a 10-mg vial, this represents a 23% discount to the reference product’s wholesale acquisition cost. It also represents a 12% discount to Avastin’s average sales price ([ASP] defined as the price after discounts and rebates).
Amgen launched Mvasi in the summer of 2019 at a 15% discount to the WAC price of Avastin (and a 12% discount to the ASP of the reference product at that time). This month is the first where Mvasi’s ASP has been published, which at $69.77 means a 12% lower cost for Pfizer’s Zirabev.
In January 2017, the ASP price for Avastin was $73.73, which rose 10% to $81.18 in January 2019. Between January 2019 and For January 2020, the ASP for the reference product dropped 0.7%. The ASP is what Medicare will reimburse for the drug, and because it does reflect net costs after discounts and rebates, it is a pretty good measure of pricing trends in the commercial market as well. The signs point to a halt in Avastin price rises, and a likely significant drop through the end of 2020.
By that time, the next competitive entry into this category, Samsung Bioepis’ SB8, may launch. Samsung Bioepis is awaiting a fourth quarter decision by the Food and Drug Administration.
These prices may sound reasonable. Keep in mind, however, that a usual dose for bevacizumab in several cancer treatments is 10 mg/kg every 2 weeks—in other words, 70 10-mg vials are needed for a patient weighing 154 pounds (or $5,644 per treatment at Avastin’s current ASP).