Rheums with a View

  • by: Peter Pitts |
  • 02/09/2016
Today the FDA’s Arthritis Advisory Committee heard presentations on whether or not the agency should approve a BLA from Celltrion Inc. for CT-P13, a biosimilar of Remicade infliximab from Johnson & Johnson.

From the very beginning of the hearing, it was clear the expert members of the committee didn’t understand what biosimilars really are, nor the pathway the agency uses to review them.

And yet, at the end of a long day they were asked to vote on this question:

Does the Committee agree that based on the totality of the evidence, CT-P13 should receive licensure as a biosimilar product to US-licensed Remicade for each of the indications for which US-licensed Remicade is currently licensed and CT-P13 is eligible for licensure (RA, AS, PsA, PsO, adult CD, pediatric CD, adult UC)?

Despite open public comment from patients and physicans concerned about extrapolation issues, the vote was 21-3 in the affirmative. It was the vote the FDA wanted. And they got it.

Infliximab is particularly relevant to the overall conversation regarding indication extrapolation because structural differences have been identified as potentially related to the treatment of inflammatory bowel diseases.  The EMA has granted the product full extrapolation including inflammatory bowel diseases, while Health Canada did not, citing uncertainty regarding the clinical impact of observed structural differences.

What does the FDA know that our European and Canadian regulatory cousins do not?

There was also much chatter amongst the panel members about this vote helping to lower prices. Maybe so. Maybe not. Either way it’s not an appropriate discussion for an FDA panel.

Center for Medicine in the Public Interest is a nonprofit, non-partisan organization promoting innovative solutions that advance medical progress, reduce health disparities, extend life and make health care more affordable, preventive and patient-centered. CMPI also provides the public, policymakers and the media a reliable source of independent scientific analysis on issues ranging from personalized medicine, food and drug safety, health care reform and comparative effectiveness.

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