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For the first time, U.S. regulators have approved an interchangeable, biosimilar version of Humira, a hugely popular medicine used to treat rheumatoid arthritis, among other ailments. But the extent to which the approval might make a real difference to the U.S. health care system is uncertain, because availability is a long way off and the dosing regimen may not be competitive.

On paper, the move — which confers interchangeability on a Boehringer Ingelheim biosimilar treatment — certainly appears significant.

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