Novel New Drugs, 10 Biosimilar Approvals Were 2019 Standouts

While arguably the biggest news within the specialty pharmacy arena in 2019 was the U.S. approval and launch of the $2.1 million gene therapy Zolgensma (onasemnogene abeparvovec-xioi) (RSP 6/19, p. 1), plenty of other happenings stood out in the industry. Among them were FDA approvals for promising treatments for cancer, sickle cell disease (SCD) and cystic fibrosis (CF), as well as double-digit approvals for biosimilars. Independent specialty pharmacies continued to be squeezed by a variety of factors (see story, p. 1), as larger combined entities took up more and more market share. AIS Health asked various industry experts to weigh in on the biggest specialty pharmacy events in 2019.

Looking back over the past year, what do you think were the most noteworthy occurrences within the specialty pharmacy industry, and why?

Martin Burruano, R.Ph., vice president, pharmacy services at Independent Health: “Mergers and acquisitions continued to shape the biopharma landscape, with many companies buying strategic assets to better position themselves for emerging therapies, like gene therapies.…There was a high rate of drug approvals in the specialty category. Less frequent and lower price increases were seen for many of the commonly used specialty products. The migraine category grew its presence in the specialty market.”

Angela Maas

Angela Maas

Angela has an extensive background of editing, reporting and writing for trade and consumer publications. She has written Radar on Specialty Pharmacy (formerly called Specialty Pharmacy News) since she joined AIS Health in 2005 and has broad knowledge of the various issues at play within the space. Before joining AIS Health, she was managing editor at Employee Benefit News and Employee Benefit News Canada and managing editor at HemAware (a hemophilia publication), Lupus Living and Momentum (a multiple sclerosis publication). She has a B.A. in English and an M.A. in British literature from Arizona State University.

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