A biologic is a medicine made from a living thing like a human, animal, plant, or bacteria. They treat things like:

  • cancer,

  • rheumatoid arthritis,

  • inflammatory bowel disease, and

  • anemia.

Reference Medicines

“Reference” means the “first” of this type of biologic medicine to be approved.

Biosimilar Medicine

This is medicine that is highly similar to a reference medicine, i.e., an existing biologic medicine. They have similar safety and treatment effects.

Benefits include:

  • Lower drug prices

  • Lower healthcare costs

  • Better access to medicine

Naming of Biologics and Biosimilars

Names of these medicines are the same, but biosimilar medicines include four letters at the end of the medicine name. The brand names are not the same. See examples below.


Ask your doctor or pharmacist if biosimilars are right for you.