By: Austin Frakt
Competition among generic drug makers pushes drug prices downward. But such competition is weak for a growing and expensive class of drugs called biologics. A big reason has to do with the science that underlies them.
Biologics — large-molecule, protein-based drugs — are made by living organisms, not by chemical processes, which are the source of non-biologic, or small-molecule, drugs. Their complexity makes them harder to reverse engineer than small-molecule drugs, making generic versions of them — called biosimilars — more costly to bring to market.