With the reporting of AbbVie’s second-quarter earnings, we are getting a better understanding of the substantial savings accruing to the US health system as a result of biosimilar competition. AbbVie reported yesterday that net US revenues from Humira dropped 26% in the US for the six months ending June 30th to $6.4 billion. For the second quarter alone, this figure also fell 26%, to $3.4 billion. Keep in mind, these figures are net revenues, already accounting for discounts and rebates.
These declines were not the result of significantly lower utilization. Amjevita®, which was introduced at the end of January, has not been a good sales story for Amgen to date; Amgen earlier announced that Amjevita uptake has been meager for the first quarter and this was further reinforced by the company’s second-quarter earnings report on August 3, when it recorded only $19 million in additional revenues). As they were the only competition for Humira through the July 1 launch of the great wave of adalimumab biosimilars, the one-quarter drop in net revenue from Humira had to result from additional pricing discounts and rebates by AbbVie.
As we reported earlier, PBMs have placed their covered biosimilars at parity with Humira and have not disadvantaged the reference product; this was reconfirmed by Prime Therapeutics yesterday. Therefore, we should expect that Humira utilization will not decrease dramatically before the end of the year. However, if we extrapolate AbbVie’s second-quarter and 6-month results to the full year, Humira revenue would be around $13 billion (which would be a decrease of 40% from $21 billion in 2022). To the extent that biosimilar manufacturers (singularly or collectively) can pick up significant marketshare by year’s end, the amount of savings may be greater.
These data continue to raise alarm bells for the biosimilar industry, as the savings gained to date are not the result of biosimilar manufacturers gaining a foothold in the adalimumab market and earning a profit. It is solely the result of AbbVie having to match the competition’s price in order to retain its parity status. With the discounts put forward by many of the biosimilar adalimumab manufacturers, it will now be up to the PBMs and their clients to prefer biosimilars in 2024 to ensure the competition is here to stay.
(This post was modified Aug 3 to reflect Amgen’s second-quarter Amjevita earnings)