More than 10 years after the passage of the Biologics Price Competition and Innovation Act of 2009 (BPCIA) as part of the Affordable Care Act, the FDA finally has approved the first interchangeable biosimilar. But while many in the industry are hailing the move, at least one expert wonders whether interchangeables will hamstring use of biosimilars that do not have that designation.

On July 28, the FDA approved Viatris Inc. and Biocon Ltd. subsidiary Biocon Biologics Ltd.’s Semglee (insulin glargine-yfgn) to improve glycemic control in adults and pediatric patients with Type 1 diabetes mellitus and in adults with Type 2 diabetes mellitus. It is a biosimilar to and interchangeable with its reference product, Sanofi Aventis’ Lantus (insulin glargine), a long-acting insulin analog. The product will be available in 10 mL vials and 3 mL prefilled pens and is administered subcutaneously once daily. It also has 12 months of exclusivity under section 351(k)(6) of the Public Health Service (PHS) Act during which the FDA cannot approve another biosimilar that is interchangeable with Lantus.

The FDA also issued three fact sheets to help improve understanding of biosimilars and interchangeable biosimilars.

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