Skip to main content


Conference Coverage

Cost Analysis of Biosimilar vs Reference Rituximab for Treating CLL and Other Diseases

June 10, 2021

Rituximab-abbs may have more economic benefits compared to rituximab in patients with non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL), chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), rheumatoid arthritis, granulomatosis with polyangiitis, and microscopic polyangiitis, according to a study presented at the virtual 2021 ASCO Annual Meeting.

These findings were presented by Elizabeth James, MD, Aventine Consulting, LLC, Marblehead, MA, lead author of the study.

Rituximab-abbs, the first rituximab biosimilar approved in the US, with the expectation of reducing drug acquisition costs, is an important antibody and immune-oncology agent for the treatment of B-cell malignancies, follicular lymphoma, CLL, and NHL, while also indicated for patients with rheumatoid arthritis, granulomatosis with polyangiitis, and microscopic polyangiitis.

Aiming to estimate incremental annual cost differences between rituximab-abbs and originator rituximab for a hypothetical 1-million-member US health care insured (Medicare) population, Dr James and colleagues created a budget impact model evaluating the impact of replacing a share of rituximab use with rituximab-abbs for NHL, CLL, granulomatosis with polyangiitis, and microscopic polyangiitis.

Results from the analysis showed an increased rituximab-abbs uptake from 17.5% to 22%. Publicly available cost resources, product labels, and scientific literature were used to determine values for epidemiology, market share distribution, drug dosing, administration, and costs.

Annual dose counts per patient were: 10 untreated follicular lymphoma with maintenance; 8 untreated follicular lymphoma, relapsed/refractory follicular lymphoma; 6 CLL, and 4 for rheumatoid arthritis, granulomatosis with polyangiitis, or microscopic polyangiitis.

The analysis showed, after the utilization shift, annual incremental savings of $312,379 for a 1-million-member payer, equating to $0.31 per enrolled member per year. Incremental drug cost savings with rituximab-abbs for 1-year were between $5,474 and $12,924 per patient.

“This analysis estimated annual savings of over $310,000… for a 1-million-member US payer following a 4.5% utilization shift from originator rituximab to rituximab-abbs, demonstrating that rituximab-abbs may confer considerable economic benefits vs originator rituximab,” concluded Dr James and colleagues.—Marta Rybczynski

James E, Trautman H, McBride A, et al. U.S. budget impact analysis of biosimilar versus originator intravenous rituximab for the treatment of non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL), chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), rheumatoid arthritis (RA), granulomatosis with polyangiitis (GPA) and microscopic polyangiitis (MPA). Presented at: the 2021 ASCO Annual Meeting; June 4-8, 2021; virtual. Abstract e18820.

Back to Top