By Dr. Brian McDonoughSponsored By Independence Blue Cross

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — They are called biosimilars. Biosimilars are biological agents that can be used in the place of prescription drugs to treat certain conditions.

Some of these biosimilars work extremely well. An example is in the treatment of rheumatologic diseases. Treatment with these biosimilars has dramatically improved the health of many patients.

The cost for these medications was supposed to be lower than many of the common medications that are prescribed – another key advantage. But this hasn’t happened. This has led to the development of an international multidisciplinary task force to discuss recommendations on the use of these biosimilars in the treatment of various conditions.

The committee found that biosimilars could play very important role for many conditions. Pricing and safety need to be monitored closely.