Future is in doubt for cheaper versions of biologic drugs

They were the drugs that were supposed to save the U.S. tens of billions of dollars.

Called “biosimilars,” they are near-copies of complex and expensive biologic drugs to treat cancer, rare diseases and autoimmune disorders like rheumatoid arthritis and colitis.

But U.S. sales have been so limited that their future is in doubt. Already, one company has scrapped nearly all its biosimilar development projects.

Worst-case scenario? Drugmakers could abandon biosimilar development, and makers of original biologic drugs could keep raising their six-figure-a-year prices indefinitely.

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