World’s Top-Selling Drug Going Off Patent Means Big Bucks for Middlemen

AbbVie’s Humira has raked in about $200 billion over its lifetime.PHOTO: JOE BUGLEWICZ FOR THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

As AbbVie’s Humira faces copycat biologics, the biggest beneficiaries will be the middlemen negotiating and dispensing the drugs such as Cigna and CVS.

By David Wainer

Starting next year the highest-grossing drug of all time, AbbVie ABBV -1.77%decrease; red down pointing triangle‘s Humira, will finally face competition from copycat biologics in the U.S.

Yet the makers of the complex generics known as biosimilars won’t necessarily be the biggest winners. The top beneficiaries could instead be the middlemen such as Cigna CI -0.41%decrease; red down pointing triangle and CVS Health CVS -0.86%decrease; red down pointing triangle, which will negotiate and dispense the drugs to patients.  

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