WHO prequalifies Biosimilar of Trastuzumab to provide cheaper breast cancer medicine

WHO allowed the commercial use of biosimilar drug of Trastuzumab to treat breast cancer.

Created On: Dec 21, 2019 09:00 ISTModified On: Dec 20, 2019 17:30 IST
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The World Health Organization (WHO) allowed the commercial use of Samsung Bioepis', a biosimilar drug of Trastuzumab, to treat breast cancer. This drug was included in the list of essential medicines by the WHO in 2015.

In the year 2018, about 21 lakh women were suffering from breast cancer. About 6 lakh 30 thousand women died due to delay in treatment or lack of necessary treatment facilities.

Key Highlights
•         This drug has given positive results in treating about 20% of cases of breast cancer and has proved to be very effective in the treatment of early and in some high-level cancer cases.
•         The annual average price of Trastuzumab is USD 20,000. It is not affordable by most of the women patients due to its high price.
•         The biosimilar medicine of trastuzumab is about 65 percent less than its actual price.
•         Its effectiveness, safety, and quality were evaluated by WHO while testing biosimilar of this drug. Now, it has been recommended for supply by United Nations institutions.
•         Some biosimilars of Trastuzumab have been developed over the past five years but none of them have been pre-qualified by the WHO.
•         According to the International Cancer Research Agency of the World Health Organization, the number of breast cancer patients will reach about 31 lakhs by 2040.

What is Biosimilars

Biosimilars are also cheaper adaptations of basic bio-therapeutic drugs like generic medicine while their effectiveness is similar. They are manufactured by companies when the patent of the original product has expired. Biotherapeutic medicines are those drugs that are manufactured from biological and living sources like cells, blood, blood cells, tissue, and other substances rather than synthesized chemicals.


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