Biosimilars hold the potential to free up precious resources for reinvestment in new treatments in the developed nations, while improving market access for developing economies. Consequently, it is easy to see why these lower-cost alternatives to premium-priced biologics are among the hottest topics in the pharmaceutical industry.
However, in countries with no formal biosimilars regulatory guidance, such as China, domestic, non-innovator copies of multinational, branded biologics have been approved without clinical data to support comparability to the innovator brand; as a result, the quality of these non-innovator versions can be inferior. Chinese regulators are in the process of developing an abbreviated approval process for biologics that could open up the Chinese market to true biosimilars however. China is not alone in allowing follow-on biologics to be approved without clinical comparability data; non-innovator biologics are also available in South Korea, but a formal biosimilars pathway, based on the European process, has been in place since 2009. In order to understand how perceptions of biosimilars vary between these key Asian growth markets, we surveyed Chinese and South Korean specialists. Primary research in the G7 markets has highlighted that oncologists are more willing to adopt biosimilars than endocrinologists, and with this in mind, we surveyed both of these groups of specialists in China to understand if this trend exists in growth markets.
Markets covered: South Korea and China.
Primary research: Online survey with 286 specialist physicians: 86 Chinese endocrinologists from Class IIIA hospitals who treat at least 40 type II diabetics per month; 100 Chinese oncologists from Class II or III hospitals who treat at least 10 breast cancer patients and 5 non-small-cell lung cancer patients per month; 100 South Korean oncologists who treat at least 10 breast cancer patients and 5 non-small-cell lung cancer patients per month.