Bengaluru, December 11, 2019
Nearly a century after the discovery of insulin, millions of people with diabetes are denied access to this life-saving therapy due to its prohibitive costs. Insulin-dependent diabetes patients are not just finding it difficult to access insulin in emerging markets, even those in developed markets like U.S. are finding it difficult to afford insulins therapy. Growing worldwide concern about the cost of insulin is driving the quest to find viable, long-term solutions to improve insulin access and affordability.
Biocon Biologics, committed to enabling affordable access, launched its 'Unlock Universal Access to Quality Insulins' initiative in September 2019 with an announcement to provide recombinant human Insulin (rh-Insulin) at less than 10 US cents / day for Governments in Low and Middle-Income Countries (LMICs) at a UNAIDS Health Innovation Exchange event on the side-lines of the 74th session of the UN General Assembly in New York.
Taking forward its mission to unlock affordable access to insulin, Biocon Biologics participated for the first time at the IDF (International Diabetes Federation) Annual Congress, focused on ‘Shape the future of diabetes', which was held in Busan, South Korea from December 2 to December 6, 2019.
As a committed global insulins player, Biocon Biologics is engaging with diverse stakeholders at various global forums to seek their participation in its 10 cents mission in order to expand affordable access to rh-insulin for patients across the globe.
In line with its Universal Access mission, the Company organized a symposium on '100 years of Insulin – Delivering on Universal Access & Equitable Care' during the IDF Congress.
The Symposium was opened by Mr Satish Sivan, the Deputy Chief of Mission, Embassy of India in Korea, who appreciated the efforts being made by Biocon Biologics to unlock affordable access to insulins for patients across the globe. “India has been rightly called the pharmacy capital of the world with consistent track record in producing high quality affordable pharmaceutical products with advances in Biological therapeutics. India has seen companies like Biocon become world leaders in developing Biosimilar therapeutic entities especially for diabetes and cancer,” he said.
The Symposium was addressed by Dr Andrew Boulton, Professor at Manchester University and President, IDF, Dr Radhakrisha Sothiratnam, consultant physician, Columbia Asia Hospital, Seremban, Malaysia, Dr Irl Hirsch, Professor of Metabolism, Endocrinology and Nutrition, University of Washington, U.S., Renza Scibilia, Manager- Type 1 Diabetes and consumer Voice, Diabetes Australia.
“Is diabetes the cancer of the 21st century? Neither malaria nor AIDS, but diabetes is the biggest health challenge today. Explosion of diabetes in Asia is resulting in a rising global public tsunami. A 150% rise in type 2 diabetes in South Asia from 2000 to 2035, has been estimated. Lack of equitable access to affordable insulin remains a key impediment to successful treatment and results in co-morbid complications and premature deaths. In developed markets too, thousands of people are finding it difficult to afford expensive insulins therapy. To tackle this huge economic burden that diabetes poses, governments across the world need to ensure that they have a universal health coverage system, which includes insulin and diabetes care,” said Dr Andrew Boulton, Professor at Manchester University and President, IDF.
“Our symposium at IDF Congress brought together leading KOLs from across the globe to seek viable, long-term solutions to improve insulin access and affordability. The discussions pointed towards diabetes being a universal challenge for patients not just in LMICs but also in developed markets like the U.S., where patients outside the health security net are forced to ration insulins due to its high cost. We believe Biocon Biologics along with other stakeholders including like- minded insulins providers can enable equitable access to insulins for patients globally,” said Christiane Hamacher, CEO, Biocon Biologics.
Speaking on ‘Validated Biosimilar insulin: A Journey from clinical trials to real world evidences', Dr Radhakrisha Sothiratnam, consultant physician, Columbia Asia Hospital, Seremban, Malaysia, said, “Governments should encourage the use of biosimilar insulins which being affordable provide governments, healthcare professionals and patients the opportunity to lower healthcare costs. Biocon has been able to increase access to insulins in Malaysia by introducing affordable therapeutic options through its locally produced recombinant human insulin and Insulin Glargine. Going forward, the export of affordable insulin therapies from Malaysia to the rest of the world will help bring smarter solutions for a healthier life to patients and customers in the neighboring countries.”
Appreciating Biocon Biologics' initiative to enable universal access to insulin globally, Dr Sothiratnam added, “The 10 cents Mission makes pure sense now, when universal access to insulin still remains a distant dream.”
In his address on ‘Insulin Pricing and Barriers to Access: the US Perspective for Improved Outcomes', Dr Irl Hirsch, Professor of Metabolism, Endocrinology and Nutrition, University of Washington, U.S., said, “Rationing of Insulin in the U.S. is twice as compared to any LMICs, with 26% Americans rationing this because of the costs. The health care system is currently broken in the U.S., with prices of insulin being tripled between 2002 and 2013, leading to one out of four Americans rationing their insulins. Till date, there has not been a solution for adequate access for all Americans to obtain insulin. There is hope, however, that within the next year we will have our first biosimilar insulin. We believe the introduction of biosimilar insulins will generate competition in the U.S. market, bringing down prices of insulins and making high quality insulins more accessible for patients in need.”
Renza Scibilia, Manager- Type 1 Diabetes and consumer Voice, Diabetes Australia, in her address, spoke on how diabetic patients can improve their quality of life through proper understanding of the disease from the perspectives of a caregiver, patient advocate, dietician etc.
Biocon Biologics used the IDF congress as a platform to engage with Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs), including physicians, scientists, educators, healthcare professionals, government representatives, policy makers, and IDF members to take forward its 10 cents mission to unlock affordable access to insulin.
The WHO's announcement regarding the insulin prequalification pilot program for LMICs on November 13, is well timed. Biocon Biologics welcomes this first-ever insulin prequalification program of WHO which we believe will enable access by increasing the flow of quality-assured products on the international market, providing countries with greater choice and patients with lower prices.
Biocon Biologics is willing to work with governments to ensure ways to overcome price barriers, including special pricing and setting up low-cost manufacturing facilities via public-private partnerships. The Company also seeks to work with healthcare systems and payers worldwide to ensure that insulin pricing is not a constraint to the well-being of individuals and of communities.
Despite the capital-intensive nature of insulin production, Biocon Biologics has succeeded in expanding access to insulin therapy in India and key global markets by pursuing an innovation strategy that is rooted in affordability. Biocon Biologics has one of the largest insulin manufacturing capacities in the world, which it is using to shift the access paradigm for insulin worldwide. It has cumulatively supplied over 2 billion doses of biosimilar insulins so far to patients globally over the last 15 years. In multiple countries like Mexico and Malaysia, most of the insulin-requiring diabetics take Biocon Biologics' insulins. The Company's biosimilar insulins are also making a difference to people with diabetes in developed markets like EU, Japan and Australia.
The Company's rh-Insulin has been approved in over 40 countries and commercialized in countries like India, Mexico and Malaysia, while Insulin Glargine has been approved in over 60 markets and commercialized in countries like India, Australia, EU, Japan, UAE, South Korea, Mexico and Malaysia.
About Biocon Biologics:
Biocon Biologics is a subsidiary of Biocon Ltd, an innovation led global biopharmaceuticals company. Biocon Biologics is engaged in developing high quality, affordable biosimilars aimed at expanding patient access to cutting-edge class of therapies across the world. It is uniquely positioned as a fully integrated ‘pure play' biosimilars organization globally. Biocon Biologics aspires to transform patient lives through innovative and inclusive healthcare solutions. The Company has a large portfolio of biosimilars under global clinical development with three of these commercialized in developed markets like U.S, EU, Australia and Japan. Biocon Biologics has a product pipeline of 28 molecules, including 11 partnered with Mylan, several with Sandoz and many being developed independently. Follow Biocon Biologics on twitter: @bioconbiologics
About Biocon Ltd:
Biocon Limited, publicly listed in 2004, (BSE code: 532523, NSE Id: BIOCON, ISIN Id: INE376G01013) is an innovation-led global biopharmaceuticals company committed to enhance affordable access to complex therapies for chronic conditions like diabetes, cancer and autoimmune. It is a leading global player for high quality biosimilars, APIs including statins, immunosuppressants and specialty molecules. Biocon has developed and commercialized novel biologics, biosimilars, and complex small molecule APIs in India and several key global markets as well as generic formulations in the U.S. and Europe. It also has a pipeline of promising novel assets in immunotherapy under development. Biocon is committed to pursue the path of innovation to develop products that have the potential to benefit a billion lives. For further information, please visit www.biocon.com follow Biocon Limited on Twitter @bioconlimited