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Biosimilars of trastuzumab

Last update: 14 July 2017

Trastuzumab is a monoclonal antibody that interferes with the human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2)/neu receptor. In some cancers, notably certain types of breast cancer, HER2 is over-expressed, and causes cancer cells to reproduce uncontrollably. Trastuzumab is therefore used to treat certain breast cancers.

Similar biotherapeutic products approved and marketed in Latin America

Last update: 14 July 2017

Regulation of similar biotherapeutic products in Latin America varies widely among different countries and many countries have yet to introduce guidance for biosimilars, Latin America is moving towards increasing standards of regulation for these products [1, 2].

Biosimilars approved in Europe

Last update: 7 July 2017

In the European Union (EU), a legal framework for approving biosimilars was established in 2003. This framework means that biosimilars can only be approved centrally via the European Medicines Agency (EMA) and not nationally.

Biosimilars of bevacizumab

Last update: 7 July 2017

Bevacizumab is a humanized monoclonal antibody. It inhibits angiogenesis (the formation of new blood vessels) by blocking the action of vascular endothelial growth factor A (VEGF-A). Bevacizumab can therefore slow the growth of new blood vessels in tumours and is used to treat various cancers, including colorectal, lung, breast, glioblastoma, kidney and ovarian.

Biosimilars of pegaspargase

Pegaspargase is a modified enzyme. It is a form of L-asparaginase which has undergone PEGylation. It is used as an anticancer (‘antineoplastic’ or ‘cytotoxic’) chemotherapy drug. It is indicated for the treatment of acute lymphocytic leukaemia (ALL), non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and for treatment of patients who have had a hypersensitivity reaction to another form of asparaginase.

UK investigation suggests Merck broke competition law

A provisional statement from the UK Competitions and Markets Authority (CMA) says that Merck Sharp & Dohme (MSD) ran an anticompetitive discount scheme for anti-inflammatory drug Remicade (infliximab).

Biosimilars of epoetin alfa

Last update: 23 June 2017

Epoetin alfa is a human erythropoietin produced in cell culture using recombinant DNA technology. It stimulates erythropoiesis (increases red blood cell levels) and is used to treat anaemia, commonly associated with chronic renal failure and cancer chemotherapy.

Biosimilars of etanercept

Last update: 23 June 2017

Etanercept is a biological drug that treats autoimmune diseases by inhibiting tumour necrosis factor (TNF); a soluble inflammatory cytokine. Etanercept is indicated for the treatment of rheumatoid, juvenile rheumatoid and psoriatic arthritis, plaque psoriasis and ankylosing spondylitis.

Biosimilars of abatacept

Last update: 28 April 2017

Abatacept is a modified antibody biological drug used to treat autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, by interfering with the function of particular cells (T-cells) in the immune system. This action modifies the inflammation and immune activity which cause the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis.

Recommendations to enhance transparency of biosimilar labels

On 6 June 2017, the European Association for Bioindustries (EuropaBio) announced that it had ‘developed recommendations for changes to the Summary of Product Characteristics (SmPC) of biosimilars that would result in an enhanced level of transparency in the label’.

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