Merck, known as MSD outside the United States and Canada, announced that is has signed an exclusive contract to supply Reneflexis, a Remicade biosimilar manufactured by Samsung Bioepis, to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
Under the terms of the agreement, Merck will supply $174.9 million worth of Reneflexis over five years to the U.S. department.
“We are pleased that VA has chosen to expand access to an important treatment option such as Reneflexis for our veterans who have nobly served this country,” Merck’s Senior Vice President Patrick Magri said.
Professor Michael Valentino, the chief consultant for pharmacy benefits management at the Department for Veterans Affairs, also said, “VA recognizes the value biosimilars bring to the health care system, and the award of this contract is consistent with VA’s goal of providing quality treatment options while optimizing resources in the care of veterans.”
The Food and Drug Administration had approved Reneflexis in April 2017 as a biosimilar to Remicade.
Remicade treats Crohn’s disease, adult ulcerative colitis, ankylosing spondylitis, adult plaque psoriasis, psoriatic arthritis, and rheumatic arthritis. It is J&J’s top medication with the sale of $6.7 billion in 2016 and is now the fifth best-selling drug in the world.
The formulary update is the most recent good news for Samsung Bioepis’ biosimilar. Earlier this year, Canada’s British Columbia Province announced that it would reimburse the company’s biosimilar under its public drug plan.