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After months of anticipation, the first biosimilar version of Humira will become available next week — a pivotal moment in the long-running debate about whether cheaper copies of pricey biologics can lower soaring U.S. health care costs.

For years, Humira dominated the market for treating rheumatoid arthritis and other autoimmune disorders. In the process, it became the best-selling medicine in the world and generated billions of dollars in annual sales for AbbVie, which extended its monopoly time and again by filing dozens of patents that made it harder for would-be rivals to launch lower-cost biosimilar versions.

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