Saturday, May 06, 2023

"Endocrine News" Podcast Episode 69: Biosimilar Insulin

The Endocrine Society has several podcasts; one of its podcasts is known by the name of "Endocrine News". 

Ordinarily, I ignore most of the Endocrine Society podcasts because: a) they tend to be disproportionately focused on the topic of Type 2 diabetes and treatments for that and b) even when the podcast subject matter includes Type 1 diabetes, I find alternative sources provide considerably more information on the same topics. Partly, it is because the Endocrine Society's Endocrine News podcast tends to be only about 10-30 minutes in length which is frequently insufficient to address the topics they aim to address.


Still, I pay attention to their podcast topics and will occasionally listen if the topic is of interest. A recent episode featured an interview with Dr. Irl Hirsch, MD who is a professor of medicine at the University of Washington Medicine Diabetes Institute. In which he talks about biosimilar insulin: its safety, efficacy, what sets it apart from biologic "human" insulin, and when it should be considered for use.

Dr. Irl Hirsch, MD

Dr. Hirsch talks about insulin biosimilars as well as "authorized generic" versions of branded insulins (without actually calling them "authorized generics" in his dialogue, even though that's what the FDA considers them), but he also discusses the outlook for broader biosimilar insulin availability expected in 2024, where we can anticipate biosimilars of Sanofi Lantus from Sandoz/Gan & Lee, Lannett/HEC, Amphastar/ANP, and the nonprofit Civica/GeneSys Biologics, in addition to several on the market from both Biocon as well as Lilly, biosimilars of Novo Nordisk Novolog from Sandoz/Gan & Lee, Lannett/HEC, Amphastar/ANP, and the nonprofit Civica/GeneSys Biologics as well as Biocon, and biosimilars of Lilly Humalog from Sandoz/Gan & Lee and the nonprofit Civica/GeneSys Biologics in addition to one already on the market branded as Admelog from Sanofi.

To be sure, the market is evolving rapidly and not every biosimilar insulin is guaranteed to succeed. But it IS possible that a majority of U.S. insulin-users could become biosimilar users rather than branded insulin users since the big three insulin manufacturers in March 2023 announced plans to slash insulin list prices and to opt-out of the PBM commercialization model (at least for patent-expired insulin varieties). Dr. Hirsch talks very briefly about the market dynamics in the U.S. insulin market and acknowledges the impact of biosimilar insulins in the near future, although he said he could not predict what the market would look like at the time of the "Endocrine News" podcast episode.

The podcast episode can be accessed by visiting or listen below.

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