Biologics are substances made from mixtures of chemicals that are engineered or extracted from biological sources, not synthesized like conventional drugs. The compounds are costly to produce—not easily identified, characterized, or duplicated—and account for roughly a quarter of the $1.3-trillion pharmaceutical industry.
That’s changing, though: biosimilar drugs are being developed that aren’t exact duplicates of branded biologics, but have no clinically meaningful differences. Researchers at Johns Hopkins and Brigham and Women’s compared a number of branded biologics and their biosimilar counterparts and found that they were interchangeable. And like conventional generics, biosimilar substances can be offered at a fraction of the price, providing lower-cost alternatives to those in need.
Read more at Kaiser Health News.