The Adalimumab Biosimilar Great Wave Launches, and WAC Pricing Covers the Spectrum

A tidal surge of biosimilar competitors to Humira® launched this week, with at least a couple of surprises. Last month, Coherus announced their huge price discount, based on the reference product’s wholesale acquisition cost (WAC). Samsung Bioepis/Organon has decided to meet that 85% discount. None of the other competitors raised the ante, but Sandoz and Biocon Biologics revealed via Email that they are introducing their unbranded adalimumab biosimilars at an 81% and 85% discount, respectively.

Sandoz and Biocon also noted that it is selling their branded products at a 5% discount. Among the adalimumab biosimilar launches, several other manufacturers have decided to modestly discount their brands (see Table). This, of course, has little bearing on net price. It simply means that companies that resolved to shadow Humira’s price have more room to negotiate rebates.

We can’t be sure at this juncture, but we do have a couple of implied numbers to discuss. With Amgen’s January launch of its two-tier WAC option (a 5% or 55% WAC discount), we can assume the manufacturer planned to offer a net price that was similar (or a bit below) what AbbVie would offer in 2023. This was estimated to be a 50% rebate, according to several sources.

If this is accurate, the net price of Humira’s 2-pen package would be $3,461 ($6,922 X 0.5). We would also assume that Coherus and Samsung Bioepis/Organon, which are offering 85% WAC discounts, and Sandoz’s unbranded version, which is offered at an 81% discount, is not subject to rebating. Based on this simple calculation, these specific products are 25% to 30% below the estimated net cost for Humira, as of today. Mind you, the potential fluidity of the situation at hand!

BrandManufacturerWAC DiscountFormulation/Comment
AbriladaPfizerNot announcedLCF
CyltezoBoehringer Ingelheim5%LCF (interchangeable)
HadlimaSamsung Bioepis/Organon85%HCF
HulioBiocon Biologics/Kyowa Kirin5%LCF
(Unbranded)Biocon Biologics/Kyowa Kirin85%LCF
IdacioFresenius Kabi5%LCF
HCF = high-concentration formulation; LCF = low-concentration formulation.
Data gathered from corporate websites, E-mail communications.

The high-concentration formulations (100 mg/mL) account for 85% of all Humira use today. However, it should also be pointed out that the WAC prices of the biosimilar high-concentration products are not necessarily higher than that of the low-concentration (50 mg/mL) products. For example, Sandoz is offering both branded and unbranded in its high-concentration form.

As illustrated, WAC pricing covers an extremely wide spectrum. Yet we don’t think the net pricing variation is that wide. In the deals being negotiated, companies are trying to retain as much value as possible, while somehow separating themselves from the wild competition. One can assume that if these >80% discounts are carried through the end of the year, net prices for the modestly discounted products will trace a similarly steep path.   

(Revised on July 5 and July 10

One thought on “The Adalimumab Biosimilar Great Wave Launches, and WAC Pricing Covers the Spectrum

  1. Please note there is a typo on the last 2 rows of the chart in the article. Coherus and Yusmiry are reversed. Same goes for Celltrion and Yuflyma.

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