Understanding Biologic and Biosimilar Drugs (from ACS CAN)
This is a replication of an original post (Understanding Biologic and Biosimilar Drugs) on the Cancer Action Network of the American Cancer Society. To read the full article, please click on the button immediately following the excerpt provided in this post.
Biological drugs, commonly referred to as biologics, are a class of drugs that are produced using a living system, such as a microorganism, plant cell, or animal cell. Like all drugs, biologics are regulated by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA). They are different from “small molecule” drugs (think aspirin) in that they are generally larger, more complex molecules. Biologics are usually administered via injection or infusion. Most biologics in cancer care are given under the close supervision of a medical professional.
Biologics have been a part of medical treatment for a long time and have been used for treating cancer since the 1980s. Biologics can be used to treat cancer in a variety of ways. One way, immunotherapy, helps the body’s own immune system fight cancer cells. Other biologics are designed to slow down tumor growth and progression, or even help the body recover from other anti-cancer treatments.
About the Biosimilars Council
The Biosimilars Council, a division of the Association for Accessible Medicines (AAM), works to ensure a positive environment for patient access to biosimilar medicines. The Biosimilars Council is a leading source for information about the safety and efficacy of more affordable alternatives to costly brand biologic medicines. Areas of focus include public and health expert education, strategic partnerships, government affairs, legal affairs and regulatory policy. More information is available on our about page.
AAM is driven by the belief that access to safe, quality, effective medicine has a tremendous impact on a person’s life and the world around them. Generic and biosimilar medicines improve people’s lives, improving society and the economy in turn. AAM represents the manufacturers and distributors of finished generic pharmaceuticals and biosimilars, manufacturers and distributors of bulk pharmaceutical chemicals, and suppliers of other goods and services to the generic industry. Generic pharmaceuticals are 90 percent of prescriptions dispensed in the U.S. but only 23 percent of total drug spending. Additional information is available at www.accesiblemeds.org.