The Food and Drug Administration has approved a cheaper version of Johnson & Johnson's top-selling drug, Remicade, a pricey biotech medicine for inflammatory diseases.
The approval of Inflectra Tuesday is only the second time that the FDA has approved a quasi-generic version of a biotech drug for the U.S. market. These so-called biosimilar drugs, already available in Europe, have the potential to generate billions of dollars in savings for insurers, doctors and patients in coming years.
Inflectra, from drugmakers Celltion and Pfizer, is approved for a half-dozen uses, including psoriasis and five other conditions in which the immune system attacks the body's tissue. The drug helps reduce inflammation and control the immune system, which helps slow these diseases.
Remicade had $6.56 billion in sales last year.