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Giving Compass' Take:
· The World Health Organization recently approved its first biosimilar of trastuzumab, a medicine used to treat about 20% of breast cancers. This stamp of approval from the WHO means low-income countries from around the world will be able to access affordable treatment for citizens.
· How can donors support further exploration of biosimilars? Why is this important to global healthcare?
The World Health Organization (WHO) just gave a game-changing breast cancer treatment its stamp of approval.
The WHO prequalified its first biosimilar (meaning an affordable copy) of the medicine trastuzumab on Wednesday. Trastuzumab has shown high efficacy in curing early-stage breast cancer and, in some cases, more advanced forms of the disease, according to the WHO. Prequalification from the WHO gives countries the guarantee that they’re purchasing quality health products. This is the first biosimilar out of a few that were introduced over the past years to be prequalified by the WHO.
Trastuzumab is an antibody and was categorized by the WHO as an essential medicine for about 20% of breast cancers. First released in 2006 by a company by the Netherlands, trastuzumab sparked debate in the UK about who could afford to use it, according to the Guardian. The drug usually costs around $20,000 per treatment period, making it an unavailable option for many women and health care systems in most countries. The biosimilar version is around 65% cheaper.
Read the full article about access to affordable breast cancer treatment by Leah Rodriguez at Global Citizen.