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CVS Health Partners with Sandoz to Produce Affordable Biosimilar of Arthritis Drug Humira

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CVS Health Partners with Sandoz to Offer Affordable Biosimilar of Arthritis Treatment Humira

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Introduction

CVS Health is joining forces with drugmaker Sandoz to produce a cheaper version of the popular arthritis treatment Humira. This biosimilar drug will be priced 80% lower than the original medication.

Expanding into Biosimilar Drugs

The collaboration between CVS Health and Sandoz is part of CVS’s new venture in securing and co-producing biosimilar drugs. Biosimilars are generic versions of complex gene or protein-based therapies known as biologics.

Prem Shah, CVS Health EVP and chief of pharmacy, explained that their goal is to ensure a consistent supply of high-quality biosimilar drugs at a much lower price than the original medication.

Strengthening Presence in Biosimilars Market

While CVS is already a major player in sourcing generic drugs through its joint venture with Cardinal Health, called Red Oak, the company aims to strengthen its position in the growing biosimilars market. This market is projected to reach $100 billion in the next six years.

To achieve this, CVS is launching a new subsidiary called Cordavis, which will specialize in securing the supply of biosimilar drugs. Cordavis will also invest in Sandoz, the generic manufacturing unit of Novartis Pharmaceuticals.

Lowering Prices with Cordavis Hyromiz

Cordavis will introduce a biosimilar drug called Hyromiz, which is a near identical version of Humira. CVS promises that the list price of Cordavis Hyromiz will be more than 80% lower than the current list price of Humira, manufactured by Abbvie.

CVS plans to launch Cordavis Hyromiz in the first quarter of 2024, following the approval of Amgen’s biosimilar for Humira called Amjevita. Eight more biosimilars, including Hyromiz, are expected to enter the market within the next year.

Impact on the Market

While the news of Blue Shield of California dropping CVS as its pharmacy benefits manager caused a decline in CVS shares, analysts believe the concern is overblown. The current biosimilar market for drugs like Humira offers either significant rebates from Abbvie or substantial discounts from competing biosimilar manufacturers.

Mark Cuban’s Cost Plus Drug Company, which Blue Shield of California is switching to, lacks the scale and buying power to compete with CVS in the generic drugs market.

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