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Pfizer launches biosimilar drug for breast cancer in PHL market


BIOPHARMACEUTICAL company Pfizer recently introduced a trastuzumab biosimilar as an affordable option for Filipinos seeking treatment for an aggressive type of breast cancer.  

The biosimilar, approved this March by the Food and Drug Administration of the Philippines, is an innovative treatment option designed to treat specific types of HER2 (human epidermal growth factor receptor 2) positive breast cancers and stomach cancers.   

Breast cancer is the most common cancer in the Philippines, especially among women. According to a study conducted by the University of the Philippines’ Institute of Human Genetics, National Institute of Health, 189 in every 100,000 Filipinos are diagnosed with cancer and four Filipinos die every hour or 96 cancer patients every day.  

“The entry of Pfizer’s biosimilar medicines in the Philippine market is a very positive development. Our biosimilar products have received regulatory approval based on the overall assessment of similarity to an existing biologic medicine. Pfizer uses robust protocols to ensure the same high-quality standards are maintained in its biosimilars as its biologics throughout every stage of the manufacturing process,” said Dr. Waleed Al Morsi Mohamed El Baramawy, senior director of oncology medical affairs at Pfizer’s emerging markets business unit, in an Oct. 24 statement.   

Pfizer’s biosimilar brand is significantly lower in price than the equivalent reference medication in the market, according to Dr. Maximino G. Bello III, head of oncology at De Los Santos Medical Center and associate professor of medicine at St. Luke’s Medical Center College of Medicine — William H. Quasha Memorial. 

“The financial component of breast cancer in the Philippines is very challenging and cancer can be a significant economic burden for the Filipinos leading to financial difficulties to the families,” he added. 

The biosimilar was launched at a recent oncology summit organized by Pfizer at the Grand Hyatt Manila in Taguig City.

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