Biosimilar Medicines: a Game Changer for Oncology Care

23 March 2017
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With 10 years of positive experience with biosimilar medicines, medical societies and regulators across Europe have now adopted clear guidance in support of biosimilar medicines use and in physician-led switching from reference to biosimilar medicine.

Biosimilar medicines are an essential part of healthcare provision in Europe today in the therapeutic areas where they have been authorised.

Carol Lynch, Global Head of Biopharmaceuticals at Sandoz and Chair of the Biosimilar Medicines Group at Medicines for Europe, commented today: “With the imminent arrival of a new wave of biosimilar medicines, we need to build upon our 10 years of experience with successful biosimilar medicines use.  We know that education and sharing benefits among stakeholders are key drivers to improve access and treatment for patients. The Biosimilar Medicines Group encourages stakeholders to take an active role in creating a biosimilar sustainable environment to deliver better access to biologics for the patients of tomorrow”.

Biosimilar medicines provide an outstanding opportunity to improve access to essential, life-saving medicines in a way that is sustainable for healthcare systems, as exemplified at the 15th Biosimilar Medicines Conference in London.

The biosimilar medicines portfolio is set to expand to the Top 10 medicines having the highest impact on healthcare budgets, among which several target oncology therapies. The first of these was the EU approval for a biosimilar medicine – rituximab – as a first line indication in oncology in February of this year. This opens up new frontiers for better access, better health.

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Healthcare spending continues to grow, with global spending on medicines for cancer care having reached the $100 billion threshold already in 2014. Disparities in access to cancer medicines vary widely among countries. This trend is likely to continue due to demographic and other factors increasing cancer incidence among the EU population. Biosimilar medicines are now widely used in medical practice, bringing competition to the market, further increasing patient access to biological therapies and other needed health services. In an era of tight and pressured healthcare budgets, the benefits of biosimilar medicines cannot be ignored.

Jacek Glinka, Medicines for Europe President, highlighted that “Biosimilar medicines are a real game changer for better health. Stakeholders have a shared responsibility to ensure timely availability of biosimilar medicines to improve patient access to biological therapies and the sustainability of national healthcare systems”.

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