In the winner-take-all Nordic tender markets, AbbVie said it’s seeing discounts of upwards of 80% from biosimilar competition for its blockbuster Humira (adalimumab).
“We’re only two weeks into the launch of biosimilars [in the EU], four biosimilars have launched basically simultaneously – we’ve seen pricing in every single market, though it’s not stabilized in every market,” CEO Rick Gonzalez explained to investors on Friday’s third quarter earnings call. He said AbbVie has seen price discounts in the range of 10% to 80%.
“The discounting has been on the higher end,” Gonzalez said.
But he noted that the Nordic markets where there have been 80% discounts only make up between 4% and 5% of the company’s international business. Bernstein analyst Ronny Gal also further explained earlier this week about how AbbVie can still make money off Humira even with an 80% discount because the cost of manufacturing is less than 5% of the branded price.
As far as other European regions, two-thirds of the total revenue on Humira and the biosimilars internationally is now “locked,” Gonzalez added, meaning it’s a country that’s still protected from biosimilar competition, a country with mandated discounting, or a country that has already tendered. Still, 1/3 of the Humira international business is still being negotiated, he said.
“The discounting is coming in 10 points higher than what we would’ve anticipated,” Gonzalez added, noting the company is expecting to see about 25% of its Humira sales erode in Europe and internationally in 2019.
Gonzalez also offered an update on litigation AbbVie is engaged in with Boehringer Ingelheim in the US regarding Humira biosimilars. “We have confidence in our position,” Gonzalez said, noting that he does not fundamentally believe that having a large number of patents is an issue, while noting the “magnitude and power” of AbbVie’s intellectual property. First approved in 2002, Humira will enjoy five more years on the US market without competition.