FDA approves lower-cost alternative to biotech drug Humira

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Arthritis and joint pain (ThinkStock)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Federal regulators have approved the first alternative version of the second-biggest selling drug in the world, AbbVie’s Humira, a blockbuster injection used to treat rheumatoid arthritis and other inflammatory diseases.

The Food and Drug Administration cleared the near-copy of the drug, dubbed Amjevita, developed by Amgen Inc. of Thousand Oaks, California. Regulators approved the drug for more than a half-dozen conditions listed on the original drug’s label, including severe psoriasis and Crohn’s disease.

Humira posted sales of nearly $15 billion last year and was for many years the top-selling prescription drug in the world, according to data from IMS Health.

AbbVie Inc. is based in North Chicago, Illinois.