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A new analysis finds that relatively minor changes to Medicare's payment policies could help jump-start the fledgling market for biosimilars.

Where it stands: The market for biosimilars is weak, and that means the drugs' expected savings aren't materializing. But Medicare could help kick things up a notch, according to Avalere estimates commissioned by a coalition of biosimilars manufacturers.

By the numbers: According to Avalere's calculations, biosimilars could reach somewhere between 26% and 46% market share if Medicare picked up the tab for seniors' out-of-pocket costs for the drugs.

  • That approach could save the government as much as $5 billion and seniors as much as $3 billion over 10 years, depending on the details, the analysis says.

How it works: Doctors' financial incentives matter just as much as patients', since most biologics and biosimilars are administered at a doctor's office.

  • Medicare could save billions over the long run by simply tacking on a payment bonus for biosimilars, the analysis says.
  • Letting doctors share in the savings that biosimilars bring to Medicare wouldn't save as much money, but would do more to help biosimilars as a class gain a stronger competitive footing.

Go deeper: How to jump-start a fledgling class of new, cheaper drugs

Go deeper

10 hours ago - World

Maximum pressure campaign escalates with Fakhrizadeh killing

Photo: Fars News Agency via AP

The assassination of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, the architect of Iran’s military nuclear program, is a new height in the maximum pressure campaign led by the Trump administration and the Netanyahu government against Iran.

Why it matters: It exceeds the capture of the Iranian nuclear archives by the Mossad, and the sabotage in the advanced centrifuge facility in Natanz.

Scoop: Biden weighs retired General Lloyd Austin for Pentagon chief

Lloyd Austin testifying before Congress in 2015. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Joe Biden is considering retired four-star General Lloyd Austin as his nominee for defense secretary, adding him to a shortlist that includes Jeh Johnson, Tammy Duckworth and Michele Flournoy, two sources with direct knowledge of the decision-making tell Axios.

Why it matters: A nominee for Pentagon chief was noticeably absent when the president-elect rolled out his national security team Tuesday. Flournoy had been widely seen as the likely pick, but Axios is told other factors — race, experience, Biden's comfort level — have come into play.

Updated 12 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: WHO: AstraZeneca vaccine must be evaluated on "more than a press release."
  2. Politics: Supreme Court backs religious groups on New York COVID restrictions.
  3. World: Thailand, Philippines sign deal with AstraZeneca for vaccine.
  4. Economy: Safety nets to disappear in December Black Friday shopping across the U.S., in photosAmazon hires 1,400 workers a day throughout pandemic.
  5. Education: National standardized tests delayed until 2022.