Biosimilars

A biosimilar is a “highly similar” copy of a biologic drug, but it is not a generic. This definition understandably causes confusion among patients and providers alike, but it is an important distinction, according to Jim Koeller, MS, FHOPA, Professor, Pharmacotherapy, The University of Texas at Austin.
An increasing number of biosimilars have been approved in the United States, but many clinicians are still poorly informed about what constitutes a biosimilar, and what is involved in their unique pathway to approval, said Andrew D. Zelenetz, MD, PhD, Medical Oncologist, Division of ­Hematologic Malignancies, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York City.

It is estimated that 350 million people worldwide use biologics on a regular basis to treat their medical conditions. These therapies are incredibly innovative and have expanded the arsenal of effective treatment options for cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, and other serious illnesses. However, the high costs of these therapies, although understandable, can create access issues for patients. That is why biosimilars are so important.


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