The Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) has conducted a sector inquiry into TNF alpha inhibitors. TNF-alpha inhibitors are biological drugs that are mostly used by patients with rheumatic disorders. Hospitals buy these drugs for their patients.
Over the past few years, the patents of three of the five TNF-alpha inhibitors expired. As a result, competitors were able to introduce generic variants of these medicines, the so-called biosimilars, onto the market.
ACM has found that the expiration of patents and the market entry of competing drugs have led to drops in the net purchasing prices, but that biosimilars were not always able to gain sufficient market shares. ACM therefore sees risks for the durability of price competition in the long run. It is the hospitals, health insurers, and the government’s turn to make the next move, creating a level playing field. One of the ways in which ACM will contribute, is by looking into reports about exclusion through the use of conditional discounts, and, if necessary, by taking enforcement action.