Biosimilar products help reduce cost of medicines: Wan Azizah

NILAI: The introduction of biosimilar products is a promising strategy that can benefit the people and country as it encourages competition in the market which can then lead to a reduction of about 30%-40% in the cost of medicines, said Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail.

She said this is particularly important in Malaysia, especially with an estimated 73% of total deaths in the country due to non-communicable diseases, including cancer.

“According to the Malaysian National Cancer Registry Report 2007-2011, a total number of 103,407 new cancer cases were diagnosed in Malaysia during the period.

“Statistics from Health Facts 2016, published by the Health Ministry, show that cancer is the third leading cause of deaths in government hospitals, contributing to 13.6% of deaths.

“This is very worrying, especially since the percentage of the number of deaths caused by cancer in 1996 in government hospitals was only 8.9%,” she said in her speech at the Biosimilar Carnival 2018, here today.

Also present were Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail and Inno Bio Ventures Sdn Bhd chairman Tan Sri Abdul Rahman Mamat.

Dr Wan Azizah said biosimilars are medical products that are almost identical copies of an original product which are manufactured by a different company and are usually approved versions of the original products that are manufactured when the original products’ patents expire.

“Additionally, advances in biotechnology are also seen as a means of providing employment opportunities to Malaysians and to indirectly produce more skilled workers in Malaysia,” she said.

She said the government is aware and supportive of efforts made by organisations such as Inno Bio in organising campaigns and awareness programmes on life-threatening diseases, such as cancer, within local communities.

“I was informed that Inno Bio is currently focusing on the medicines and treatment of cancer, alongside other diseases.

“I am happy to share that Inno Bio received international recognition in 2016 from the D8 Organisation for Economic Cooperation through biosimilar product invention efforts in collaboration with Aryogen Pharmed (from Iran),” she said. The D8 Organisation is an organisation for development cooperation among Bangladesh, Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Malaysia, Nigeria, Pakistan and Turkey.

She said the collaboration between Inno Bio and Aryogen Pharmed is an excellent example of technology transfer strategies and demonstrates that biosimilar initiatives are relevant and accepted globally.

“This cooperation will fulfill technology market functions, information dissemination on technological capabilities, achievements and needs among the D8 Member Countries. This also proves that our country is capable of producing our own high impact biopharmaceutical products through strategic partnerships,” she added.

After officiating at the Biosimilar Carnival, Dr Wan Azizah also witnessed the exchange of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Inno Bio, represented by its CEO Mohd Zaid Abdul Jalil, and D8 Organisation, represented by its secretary-general Datuk Ku Jaafar Ku Shaari.

Dr Wan Azizah said the MoU aims is to strengthen the engagement between Inno Bio and D8 in order to increase inter-related cooperation between the Islamic states in the area of innovation and technology transfers, business opportunities and support.

“With this platform, I look forward to more collaboration between industry players in exchanging expertise, technologies and business opportunities,” she said. — Bernama

Article by Bernama

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