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Spot the Difference

16th October 2019

Biosimilars are a highly similar, comparably effective and rigorously verified copies of approved biologic medicines and 40% cheaper to produce.

Originality has obvious merits and pioneering clinical research benefits all of us. But when cost, logistics and demand make it impractical to deliver original products, what comes next?

Alisia Sachse of Mylan gave us a persuasive answer today. Biosimilars make up an increasingly important element of Mylan’s portfolio. Biosimilars are highly similar, comparably effective and rigorously verified copies of approved biologic medicines. They can be far less expensive to produce than the original products, and for patients in underserved, low income regions they can be the difference between life and death. Mylan already supplies biosimilars to 35 of its 165 partner countries, with more in the pipeline.

Everyone at this week’s Optimising Clinical Trials Summit in Berlin wants to deliver access to medicine and care to those who need it most, and it can be shocking to compare treatment access in affluent economies with what’s available in the developing world. Mylan’s response to this imbalance has been consistently admirable, providing free HIV and hepatitis screenings in underserved territories and offering low-cost medicine via use of biosimilars. The positive effects can’t be underestimated, rippling out from individuals to families, communities, regions and entire countries. Mylan provides approximately 69 billion doses of medicine to patients every year. The bulk of it comes in the form of original biologics, but when the copy is so accomplished that experts can’t spot the difference in patient outcomes, we have to ask ourselves, do we care that it’s a biosimilar, or do we just care that it works? Thanks to Alisia Sachse and Mylan we can make that decision from a position of knowledge.


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