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FDA approves first “biosimilar” cancer drug

The FDA approved a new cancer therapy (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, File)

The Food and Drug Administration approved a first-of-its-kind cancer treatment today, flexing a relatively new regulatory authority and emphasizing its potential to promote competition and bring down drug costs.

The drug, Mvasi, belongs to a class of drugs known as "biosimilars" — which are like generic versions of highly complex, and therefore expensive, biologic drugs.

Why it matters: Drug pricing traditionally hasn't been the FDA's forte, but Commissioner Scott Gottlieb is aggressively promoting more competition — especially from generics — as a way to make drugs more affordable.