WHO Wants to Put Biosimilars to the Test
The newest cancer medicines are considered expensive for developed countries – and they are completely out of reach for most low- and middle-income countries. In 2017, the WHO announced a pilot project for prequalifying two biosimilar medicines for cancer (1) – with the hopes of increasing access to treatment.
The WHO’s prequalification programs ensure that medicines meet acceptable standards of quality, safety and efficacy – and their lists of prequalified medicines are frequently used by international procurement agencies and countries to guide their decisions around bulk purchases of medicines. WHO prequalification (launched in 2001) initially focused on treatments for HIV, tuberculosis and malaria, but the remit was extended in 2006 and 2008 to cover medicines for reproductive health, and zinc for managing acute diarrhea in children, respectively.
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