Neupogen Biosimilar Med Zarxio Now in Pharmacies!

Roni Shye
Roni Shye, PharmD BCGP BCACP, is a licensed pharmacist in the states of Florida, Ohio, and Pennsylvania.
Posted on

The first FDA approved biosimilar for distribution in the United States is now available!

Zarxio is an alternative to Neupogen (its “reference biologic”) and will be offered at a reduced cost.

Zarxio is considered a specialty medication but will be available for open distribution. Open distribution means that the medication can be dispensed by any licensed pharmacy—and you won’t need to order through a specialty pharmacy.

What kind of savings can I expect with Zarxio?
Zarxio should save you about 15% compared to Neupogen. Novartis, the brains behind Zarxio, has said that the U.S. wholesale list price for Zarxio will be $275.66 for the 300 mcg syringe and $438.98 for the 480 mcg. The same dosages of Neupogen currently cost $324.30 and $516.45, respectively.

Zarxio has been available in Europe since 2009 and started out at the same 15% cost savings but has since increased to a savings of 20-30% compared to Neupogen, so it’s likely the cost will continue to come down over time.

Can Zarxio be used for all the same indications as Neupogen?

Yes. Zarxio can be used for the same five FDA-approved indications as Neupogen (at a reduced cost). This includes helping your body make more white blood cells to prevent infection during chemotherapy.

For more information on Neupogen see the manufacturer page here.

How will Zarxio be dispensend?
Zarxio comes in a single-use pre-filled syringe in both 300 mcg/0.5 mL and 480 mcg/0.8 mL strengths.

If my doctor writes a prescription for Neupogen can the pharmacist substitute with Zarxio?
NO. This is where biosimilars differ from regular generics. Zarxio is a biosimilar NOT an interchangeable product like most generic medications.

Interchangeable generic medications can be substituted for a brand name drug if they’re available, without needing to consult your prescriber.

Your doctor must write your prescription specifically for Zarxio if it’s the medication you will be using.

What are the side effects of Zarxio?

The most common side effects include aching in bones/muscles, and redness, swelling, or itching at the injection site.

Want more information on Zarxio?

Take a look at the FDA announcement for Zarxio’s approval here.

You can also check out the manufacturer website here.

Drugs featured in this story

Filed under