WHO launches first biosimilar medicine to treat Breast Cancer

News:The World Health Organization(WHO) has launched its first biosimilar medicine to treat breast cancer named Trastuzumab.


About Trastuzumab:

  • Trastuzumab drug was included in the WHO Essential Medicines List in 2015 as an essential treatment for about 20% of breast cancers. 
  • It has shown high efficacy in curing early stage breast cancer and in some cases more advanced forms of the disease.

About Biosimilar medicines:

  • Biosimilars are replicas of biologic drugs(original drugs) that are used to treat different types of cancers and autoimmune diseases.
  • Biosimilar medicines are made from living organisms through highly complex manufacturing processes and must be handled and administered under carefully monitored conditions.
  • They are officially approved versions of original products and can be manufactured when the original product’s patent expires.Reference to the innovator product is an integral component of the approval.

Difference between Biosimilar and Generic medicines:

  • Biosimilars involve developing equivalent of biological entity while generics involve developing equivalent of a chemical entity-the Active Pharmaceutical Ingredient.
  • Generic medicines are synthesized from chemicals in a consistent process so that manufacturers can be sure that each pill has the same effect every time.
  • On the other hand,Biosimilar medicines are produced from living organisms through highly complex manufacturing processes.