Biocon Biologics organises ‘100 years of Insulin – Delivering on Universal Access & Equitable Care’ during IDF Congress
The symposium was opened by Satish Sivan, Deputy Chief of Mission, Embassy of India in Korea, who appreciated efforts made by Biocon Biologics to unlock affordable access to insulins
Biocon Biologics 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, focussed on ‘Shape the future of diabetes’, which was held in Busan, South Korea from December 2-6, 2019.
In line with its Universal Access mission, the Company organised a symposium on ‘100 years of Insulin – Delivering on Universal Access & Equitable Care’ during the IDF Congress.
The symposium was opened by Satish Sivan, 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, 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, US, 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 per cent rise in type two 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 Boulton.
“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 US, 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 Sothiratnam 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 neighbouring 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 Hirsch said, “Rationing of insulin in the US is twice as compared to any LMICs, with 26 per cent Americans rationing this because of the costs. The health care system is currently broken in the US, 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 US market, bringing down prices of insulins and making high quality insulins more accessible for patients in need.”
Scibilia 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.