Insulin drugs could lose $6.1B to biosimilars

What class of drugs is most vulnerable to biosimilar competition? If you said diabetes meds, then you're right. That's because biosimilar insulins and insulin analogues are easy to develop and make, Decision Resources points out. The market research firm predicts that knockoff insulin meds will cut $6.1 billion worth of brand-name sales by 2018.

That might be good news for healthcare consumers--biosimilar insulins stand to save healthcare systems $3.8 billion by the same date--but not so good for big-time diabetes drugmakers. Some estimates put the worldwide insulin market at $15 billion in 2012. So $6.1 billion is a big chunk of that market.

And branded drugmakers can't expect doctors to hold off the copycats, either. Endocrinologists told Decision Resources that they expect to start giving patients biosimilar insulin drugs within a year after they launch. (They will want "a fair amount of clinical data" supporting the new biosimilars," analyst MaryEllen Klusacek said.)

- read the Decision Resources release