Hospira has begun launching its Remicade biosimilar Inflectra (infliximab) in major European markets for patients suffering from a range of inflammatory conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, Crohn’s disease and psoriasis.

The move follows an approval by the European Commission back in 2013, marking the first monoclonal antibody biosimilar to win regulatory clearance, and initial launches in smaller EU countries due to earlier patent expiries.

A cornerstone treatment for many inflammatory diseases, Remicade pulled in European sales of over $2 billion in 2012. According to Hospira, Inflectra is a more affordable option and also offers similar quality, efficacy and safety to its ‘predecessor’, as well as improving access.   

The savings generated by introducing competition in the marketplace could save the European healthcare system millions of Euros, with biosimilars expected to produce savings of over 20 billion Euros by 2020.

Hospira licensed the drug (and seven other biosimilars) from South Korea’s Celltrion in 2009 for Europe and other markets, including the USA.