July 20, 2024

Biologics are drugs made from complex molecules manufactured using living microorganisms, plants, or animal cells. Many are produced using recombinant DNA (rDNA), a technology that involves joining DNA molecules in a laboratory to produce new genetic combinations. Biologics are sometimes referred to as biopharmaceuticals or biological drugs.

Biologics are changing the way healthcare providers treat common conditions. For certain conditions, biologics are becoming more commonly prescribed than traditional drugs. Rheumatoid arthritis, certain cancers, and diabetes have the greatest numbers of dedicated biologic treatments.

This article discusses the top 10 biologic drugs in the United States and what they are used for.

How Biologic Medications Work

Biologic drugs target specific proteins or cells in your body. For example, biologic drugs designed to treat rheumatoid arthritis block certain inflammatory proteins or pro-inflammatory cells. Biologic cancer treatments help the body’s own immune system identify and destroy cancer cells.

Biologics don’t always work for everyone, and it can be challenging to find the right biologic medication. They can also have severe, sometimes life-threatening side effects.

Generic Biologics

While most drugs are chemicals synthesized from other chemicals, biologics are much more expensive due to their complex manufacturing process. Because of their high cost, there is a great demand for generic versions of biologic medications.

Several pharmaceutical companies are lobbying for the right to manufacture generic versions. However, because they are so difficult to manufacture, there are concerns about the ability to manufacture generics both safely and reliably.

They’re not exactly generics, but in recent years, numerous biosimilars have come on the market, usually at a much lower cost than the original biologic they’re based on.

Top 10 Biologics

The top 10 biologic drugs all have exceeded the monetary definition of a “blockbuster,” meaning they’ve generated more than $1 billion in annual sales, according to 2017 sales data reported by drug manufacturers.


Biologic medications are drugs manufactured from living cells. They work by targeting specific proteins or cells in the body. 

Biologics are used to treat conditions such as immune diseases, cancer, and diabetes. They may not work for everyone, and they can have serious side effects. Be sure to discuss these medications with your healthcare provider before using them.


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