Drug Costs (Photo: Shutterstock)

For two decades, patients and physicians eagerly awaited a lower-cost version of the world’s bestselling drug, Humira, while its maker, AbbVie, fought off potential competitors by building a wall of more than 250 patents around it.

When the first Humira biosimilar — essentially a generic version — finally hit the market in January, it came with an unpleasant surprise. The biosimilar’s maker, Amgen, launched two versions of the drug, which treats a host of conditions including rheumatoid arthritis. They were identical in every way but this: One was priced at about $1,600 for a two-week supply, 55% off Humira’s list price. But the other was priced at around $3,300, only about 5% off. And OptumRx, one of three powerhouse brokers that determine which drugs Americans get, recommended option No. 2: the more expensive version.

Complete your profile to continue reading and get FREE access to BenefitsPRO.com, part of your ALM digital membership.

Your access to unlimited BenefitsPRO.com content isn’t changing.
Once you are an ALM digital member, you’ll receive:

  • Critical BenefitsPRO.com information including cutting edge post-reform success strategies, access to educational webcasts and videos, resources from industry leaders, and informative Newsletters.
  • Exclusive discounts on ALM, BenefitsPRO magazine and BenefitsPRO.com events.
  • Access to other award-winning ALM websites including ThinkAdvisor.com and Law.com

Already have an account?


Join BenefitsPRO

Don’t miss crucial news and insights you need to navigate the shifting employee benefits industry. Join BenefitsPRO.com now!

  • Unlimited access to BenefitsPRO.com - your roadmap to thriving in a disrupted environment
  • Access to other award-winning ALM websites including ThinkAdvisor.com and Law.com
  • Exclusive discounts on BenefitsPRO.com and ALM events.

Already have an account? Sign In Now
Join BenefitsPRO

Copyright © 2023 ALM Global, LLC. All Rights Reserved.