February 14-16, AAM and its Biosimilars Council welcomed attendees to Orlando, Florida for Access! 2022, the generics and biosimilars industry’s preeminent conference. After more than two years of virtual events, it was a joy to visit and collaborate in-person with colleagues, friends and those we’ve met only virtually.
AAM CEO Dan Leonard commenced the conference by describing the pivotal role biosimilars play in improving the affordability of life-saving drugs for patients. As Dan stated, “We’re going to biosimilars in a big way. We need to make sure biosimilars are all accessible and available to patients … It’s about more than just solidifying the gains that have been made, it’s about laying the groundwork for the next 40 years and beyond.”
Dan then welcomed Akaimi Davis of San Antonio, Texas to the stage as part of AAM’s “Voices of Access,” highlighting patient journeys with generic and biosimilar medicines. After being diagnosed with large granular lymphocytic leukemia and struggling to find effective treatment, Akaimi turned to biosimilars. Thankfully, Akaimi was able to take back her life, including her passion for painting. (To learn more about her story, click here.)
And Dan presented the 2022 Champions of Access Allies Award to Susan Cantrell on behalf of The Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy. This year’s award recognizes AMCP for its passionate and tireless advocacy to advance the mission of improving patient health. In particular, AMCP’s Biologics and Biosimilars Collective Intelligence Consortium (BBCIC) is critical in bringing stakeholders together to provide unbiased scientific information on the effectiveness and safety of marketed biologics, including biosimilars.
After the opening ceremonies, Biosimilars Council Executive Director Christine Simmon led a roundtable discussion on “Leveraging Biosimilar Competition for Success” featuring Steven Allison, PharmD, Vice President of Pharmacy at AdventHealth; Martin Ares, Vice President of Biosimilars and Specialty at Sandoz; Bret Jackson, President of the Economic Alliance for Michigan; and Steve Miller, MD, Chief Clinical Officer at Cigna.
The panelists brought to light the significant success that the biosimilars industry has accomplished in recent years. With 33 FDA approved biosimilars and many more expected to hit the market soon, the industry generated nearly $8 billion in savings for patients in 2020 alone. During this lively discussion, Christine noted that patients are the central motivation to our industry, stating:
“Success in this context means greater access for patients who rely on biologic medicines and savings for them and for the health care system, and over the years, biosimilars have made a clear track record of both.”
The “CEOs Unplugged” panel followed on day two, with industry leaders speaking to how their companies are addressing the unprecedented challenges left in the wake of the global pandemic. During an exchange centered around the impending Humira patent expiration in 2023, Teva Executive Vice President Sven Dethlefs noted this would be a “learning experience” and a “watershed moment for the biosimilars industry.”
During the session “Global and U.S. Generics and Biosimilars: Trends, Issues, and Outlook,” attendees heard from Doug Long, Vice President of Industry Relations for IQVIA. Doug explored the continuing impact of COVID-19 on the U.S. pharmaceuticals market, including biosimilars. During his analysis, Doug noted “the uptake of U.S. biosimilars is really starting to improve.” He closed his presentation he stated, “The opportunity in terms of biosimilar savings in the next four years is $104 billion, and that’s five times more than it was in the 2016-19 period.”
AAM and the Biosimilars Council are grateful to everyone who joined us in Orlando to hear from and meet the renowned leaders and experts within our industry.
We’re looking forward to seeing everyone in-person again at our next conference, GRx+Biosims 2022, on November 7-9 in North Bethesda, MD. Until then, continue to stay up to date on the latest biosimilars news and resources by following the Biosimilars Council on social media and subscribing to our newsletter.
About the Biosimilars Council
The Biosimilars Council, a division of the Association for Accessible Medicines (AAM), works to ensure a positive environment for patient access to biosimilar medicines. The Biosimilars Council is a leading source for information about the safety and efficacy of more affordable alternatives to costly brand biologic medicines. Areas of focus include public and health expert education, strategic partnerships, government affairs, legal affairs and regulatory policy. More information is available on our about page.
AAM is driven by the belief that access to safe, quality, effective medicine has a tremendous impact on a person’s life and the world around them. Generic and biosimilar medicines improve people’s lives, improving society and the economy in turn. AAM represents the manufacturers and distributors of finished generic pharmaceuticals and biosimilars, manufacturers and distributors of bulk pharmaceutical chemicals, and suppliers of other goods and services to the generic industry. Generic pharmaceuticals are 90 percent of prescriptions dispensed in the U.S. but only 20 percent of total drug spending.