What is a biosimilar?

What is a biosimilar

A biological medicine is a preparation produced in a living cell. The development of biological medicines typically takes place using biotechnological methods, and they are produced in the cleanrooms of pharmaceutical factories. A biosimilar medicine is a close copy of the original biological medicine.

Biological medicines and their biosimilars are used both for the treatment of rare diseases and for common ones, such as diabetes, rheumatism, and inflammatory intestinal diseases.

Biosimilars are therefore used in the treatment of the same disease and in the same way that the original biological medicines were used. A biosimilar is as safe and as effective as the original biological medicine. This has been confirmed by research.

Why are biosimilars needed?

Biological medicines and their biosimilars have changed the treatment of many illnesses. However, most biological medicines are expensive. The prices of biosimilars are usually lower than for original medicinal products, and that is why biosimilars bring price competition. It is hoped that the price competition will also lead to lower prices for the original medicines. By using biosimilars and the price competition they bring, it is possible to save costs for patients as well as society without worsening of a patient's pharmacotherapy effects or safety.

Starting from 1 April 2024, a biological medicine can be substituted at pharmacy with a more affordable alternative.