The first biosimilar of AbbVie’s Humira (adalimumab) - the world’s top-selling medicine - has been launched in India by Zydus Cadila, according to media reports.

The drug - which is being marketed as Exemptia - will be offered at a fifth of Humira’s price in the country (around $1,000 a vial), reports the Economic Times of India

While this is undoubtedly a very attractive proposition for payers, even $200 seems a stretch given that a huge proportion India’s population is living in poverty. 

Nevertheless, Cadila Deputy Managing Director Sharvil has been quoted as saying that Exemptia will “offer a new lease of life to millions in India who do not have access to it so far”, and he told Reuters that the firm is expecting to pull in revenues of 1 billion rupees ($16.1 million) to 2 billion rupees from the Indian market.

Cadila has bagged four approvals for its Humira copy for rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, juvenile idiopathic arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis, but it is also gunning for Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis and plaque psoriasis. 

Humira is currently raking in more than $12 billion a year, making it hot target for biosimilars, including Amgen’s version ABP 501, which recently cleared a key hurdle on its route to approval by showing comparable efficacy in a late-stage trial in patients with psoriasis.