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Despite various issues that have slowed biosimilar uptake by the U.S. health care system, usage is expected to accelerate over the next few years and the overall sales generated by these medicines are forecast to nearly triple to roughly $2.5 billion by 2024, a new analysis suggested.

The optimistic outlook reflects several factors, although some remain unsettled. A key contributor is the effort by the Food and Drug Administration to approve a growing number of biosimilars, which are nearly identical variants of pricey brand-name biologic medicines that are expected to cost less but yield the same health outcomes. So far, the agency has approved 26 such medicines.


Other reasons include recent launches of biosimilar versions of several blockbuster cancer drugs, patent expirations on big-selling biologics, regulatory or legislative efforts to prohibit anti-competitive practices, the eventual ability of pharmacists to substitute biosimilars for biologics without requiring permission from a prescribing doctor, and greater transparency from pharmacy benefit managers.

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