Govt plans to launch cheaper biosimilars for diabetes & cancer
Govt plans to launch cheaper biosimilars for diabetes & cancer is in congruence with the govt’s affordable healthcare policy and makes India’s biotech industry globally competitive.
A biosimilar is a biologic medical product which is almost an identical copy of an original product that is manufactured by a different company. Biosimilars are officially approved versions of original “innovator” products and can be manufactured when the original product’s patent ends.
Serving the twin purposes of providing affordable drugs to patients and making Indian biotech industry globally competitive, the department of biotechnology (DBT) will soon unveil biosimilar drugs for diseases such as cancer, diabetes, and rheumatoid arthritis.
“With manufacturing of indigenous drugs, an ecosystem will be created for innovative indigenous product development by researchers, startups and SMEs to make Indian biotech industry globally competitive. India which today occupies only 3% of the global market aims to reach 5% by 2022,” said Renu Swarup, senior adviser and scientist, department of biotechnology, ministry of science and technology.
At present in Indian market biosimilars available includes insulin, erythropoietin, chorionic gonadotropin, streptokinase, interferon, and heparin As per recent reports, there is a market shift to diseases like cardiac conditions, diabetes, and cancer which have treatment options with complex biotech drugs.
“In India, there is a large pool of patients that consume these drugs. With biosimilars, the indigenous drugs will be available at a much less price which will in turn benefit patients in the long run,” said Swarup.
“The government has approved a Biopharma Mission for the production of indigenous and affordable Vaccines, Biotherapeutics and Medical devices. Apart from manufacturing biosimilar drug, we will also manufacture vaccines for dengue, pneumococcal and Human papillomavirus (HPV) indigenously,” she said.
The market is growing fast—there were only 14 biosimilar drugs available in 50 brands in 2005 and the number increased to 20 such drugs in 250 brands in 2011. There are around 100 private biopharmaceutical companies engaged in research and development, manufacturing and marketing of biosimilar products in India.