What are biosimilars and what are they used for?

  • Biosimilars are medicines made from similar types of natural sources as the original biologic medicine (like Remicade®). They work in a similar way as the original medicine.
  • Biosimilars are similarly as effective as the biologic medicine they are compared to.
  • The U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) has approved some biosimilars. That means that they must have a similar make-up and work in a similar way as the original medicine.
  • Biosimilars have no significant differences in safety, purity, strength or usefulness when compared to the original medicine.
  • Biosimilar drugs are not the same as generic drugs. Biosimilar and generic drugs are alike in some ways and different in others.
    • Biosimilars and generic drugs have been compared to the original biologic medicine. This is done to make sure they are as safe and effective as the original drug.
    • The active ingredients in generic drugs are the same as the active ingredients in the brand name drug.
    • Because brand name medicines are made from natural sources, biosimilars are slightly different from the original biologic medicine, but they are still safe and effective.

Rev. 8/2018. Mass General for Children and Massachusetts General Hospital do not endorse any of the brands listed on this handout. This handout is intended to provide health information so that you can be better informed. It is not a substitute for medical advice and should not be used to treatment of any medical conditions.