For the second quarter 2017, Pfizer reported sales of $12.9bn (€10.9bn) across all its divisions, down 2% on the same period last year due, in part, “to continued headwinds from products that recently lost marketing exclusivity.”
However this was offset by increased operational growth in its biosimilars division which grew 60% year-on-year to clock in sales of $121m for the quarter.
“We continue to see the value of biosimilars in the marketplace and expanding patient access to important high-quality, lower-cost treatment options, but we know the market is still in development,” John Young, group president at Pfizer Essential Health told investors on a conference call to discuss results.
Infliximab in the US
He also gave colour on Inflectra, Pfizer’s first and only biosimilar in the US which launched late last year. The product – a version of J&J’s TNF-inhibiting monoclonal antibody Remicade (infliximab) – brought in $23m in US sales for the quarter though Young said the penetration rate “has been slower than we expected due to some challenging marketplace dynamics.”
He told stakeholders: “By the end of June, our Inflectra share was 2.3% of the overall infliximab volume – and that includes a mix of new and switch patients – as every provider customer is taking a different approach to adoption.”
But going forward Young remained confident Pfizer could up penetration through continued contracting with group purchasing organisations (GPOs), and said with one provider Pfizer has an infliximab share of over 20%.
And with insurance plans he said Pfizer has achieved 100% coverage for Medicare patients “but in the commercial insurance space, access for Inflectra has been substantially limited due to J&J's pursuit of exclusionary contracting with insurers and providers.”
Pfizer will also now face competition in upping its US infliximab share from Samsung Bioepis’ Remicade biosimilar launched last month by the Korean firm's commercialisation partner Merck & Co. (known as MSD outside North America).
The product, Renflexis, was launched at a discount of 35% on the list price of Remicade, on parity with Inflectra’s average selling price (ASP) of $753.