To the casual observer, the optimistic discussions swirling around Humira biosimilars seems as if these competitor drugs will provide long-awaited relief to the country's drug cost problem. Unfortunately, the opposite is true; our best opportunity in a generation to break the business model that has led to drug monopolies will likely be squandered.

With $21B annual revenue, Humira is the bestselling drug in history, but it's only 3.5% of the $600B U.S. prescription drug industry. Even if Humira and its biosimilars were given away for free, our total spending wouldn't change much. 

Humira biosimilars have given employers and policy makers a false sense of security about impending cost relief, but all that's happened is the health industry has once again succeeded in making us lose sight of the real problem. The unanswered question is how and why Humira became the biggest selling drug in history. If we don't reflect on the root cause of our drug problem, we're going to have the same hand wringing conversation five or 10 years from now, with a different set of drug names.

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