Orion Has Captured Half The Norwegian Market For BioSimilar Remicade® — In Two Months!

This very morning, Bloomberg claims Kenilworth is being bullied, in Norway. Me? I’m not so sure (i.e., how big is Norway, to the full EU, anyway?). First off, we do know that both Hospira and Celltrion had long ago entered, with their biosimilar (or “bio-better”!) versions of infliximab (which Merck and J&J brand as Remicade®), in the EU more broadly. So, one other perspective would be that Orion is simply doing in Norway what a generic would normally do, there — as the third party in. Orion is grabbing share by slashing price. And even so, this is likely immaterial to Merck — since the decline was previously well-baked into Merck’s NYSE price, two months ago (per our coverage in real time, then).

As additional evidence of this, here is Ed Silverman’s nuanced and experienced analysis:

. . . .A price war is under way in Norway where Orion Oyj slashed the price for a copycat version of the Remicade arthritis medicine that is also sold by Merck and the 69% reduction paid off swiftly: by last month, Orion grabbed half the market, Bloomberg News reports. The discount has irked rivals. Hospira, which sells the same copycat version of Remicade under a different name, says the markdown will prove too massive to sustain. Hospira and Orion both license the drug from South Korea’s Celltrion.

Merck is urging doctors to be cautious about switching patients. . . .

Even if Orion can’t stay at a nearly 70 per cent discount to Merck forever, it is certain that sales of Remicade will never recover, for Kenilworth. This is a melting ice cream cone, at the revenue line. Even so, Merck will be fine without the full muscle of Remicade on the oars. . . the sculling will continue, no matter what. Onward. Life is indeed. . . just. . . too short — to spend any more time worrying — about the things outside our grasp.

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