The French government recently introduced a measure that would allow pharmacists to fill prescriptions for brand-name biotech drugs with lower cost biosimilars. According to Reuters, substitution would be allowed only at the outset of new treatment, and physicians would maintain discretion to require brand-name drugs. France is the first country in Europe to pursue biosimilar substitution, but other governments may copy the plan to reduce health care costs. Some economists estimate the biosimilars policy could save France between €500 million and €1 billion by 2020. Leaders from pharmaceutical companies like Amgen and Roche are meeting with French officials to discuss policy details before a final decree is issued.

Matthew R. Bowles assisted in the preparation of this Update.

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