Dec 06, 2017
  • Cancer is among the leading causes of morbidity and mortality in Philippines but access to treatment is still limited due to affordability
  • High-quality, clinically-proven biosimilars, approved via stringent regulatory pathways, are making biologics more affordable and generating significant savings for healthcare systems around the world
  • Sandoz is committed to increasing patient access to much-needed biologics through biosimilars

MANILA, December 7, 2017. Sandoz, a Novartis Division, and the global leader in biosimilars, hosted a scientific meeting that brought together Filipino oncologists to tackle value-based medicine and biosimilars. The meeting was graced by a world-leading expert in biologic medicines, Dr. Paul Cornes, a member of the European School of Oncology (ESO) Task Force on Innovation in Cancer. He shared key findings on worldwide spending on cancer care and innovations in managing costs, keeping the health economics of the Asia-Pacific region in perspective.

According to the Philippine Department of Health (DOH), cancer is among the leading causes of morbidity and mortality in the country. As such, it remains a national health priority as it significantly affects not only individuals and families but the communities and health systems as well.

Value-based medicine expands the focus from mere efficacy of treatment further to serving the ‘value’ that matters to the stakeholders. This means making the most out of the resources and options available which is especially important in managing the burden of cancer as the cost of cancer drugs alone rises up to five times faster than other classes of medicine. This said, Dr. Cornes added, “Managing the costs of cancer will be the model we use for other diseases.”

In the meeting, Dr. Cornes clarified though that simple cuts are not proven to consistently improve health. He emphasized cost-effective care as “targeting medicines where equally effective but cheaper treatment exists.” To solve affordability issues, he called on his fellow medical oncologists to take the lead in reducing overall cost by selecting smarter treatments, and increasing efficiency and productivity. He referenced the latest European Union recommendation encouraging the use of generics and biosimilar medicines that can lead to significant savings while not compromising on quality and efficacy.

Philippine healthcare has already gone a long way but there is still a lot we can do to reach more Filipino cancer patients,” said Anuj Hasija, Country Head of Sandoz Philippines, “that’s why I’m happy we are having this important discussion around making much needed biologics accessible.”

Sandoz is committed to increasing patient access to high-quality biosimilars. As the global leader in biosimilars, Sandoz currently has five biosimilars marketed in various countries, as well as a leading global pipeline. Sandoz is well-positioned to continue leading the biosimilars industry based on its experience and capabilities in development, manufacturing and commercialization. As a division of Novartis, the first global healthcare company to establish a leading position in both innovative and off-patent medicines, Sandoz benefits strongly from this unique blend of experience and expertise in many different market environments.

About biosimilars

Biosimilars enable more patients to receive treatment with biologics

Biologic medicines (or “biologics”) are medicines made by or derived from living organisms. These innovative treatments have transformed the lives of millions of patients with disabling and life-threatening diseases, including cancer. Biosimilars are biologic medicines that are developed to match the reference medicine in terms of safety, efficacy and quality and are approved as having no clinically meaningful differences to the reference medicine. They can be made available following the loss of patent exclusivity of the reference biologic medicine.

In his presentation, Dr. Cornes explained that one can have clinical confidence in a biosimilar if it has been approved based on a WHO-approved biosimilar pathway including analytical, preclinical and clinical assessment. He stated that in countries that do not yet meet the WHO standards for biosimilars – physicians, pharmacists, patients and payers need to understand the level of uncertainty and potential risk of the medicines that they will use.

Even though it takes many years and significant resources to develop a biosimilar, it is likely that they will be available at a lower price than reference biologics due to the increase in competition. This means that once they are approved for use, biosimilars have the potential to improve access to medicines for patients and to free up resources in the health care system. For more information, please visit

About Sandoz

Sandoz is a global leader in generic pharmaceuticals and biosimilars. As a division of the Novartis Group, Sandoz aims to discover new ways to improve and extend people’s lives. Sandoz contributes to society’s ability in addressing growing healthcare needs by pioneering novel approaches that help people around the world access high-quality medicine. Sandoz’s portfolio of approximately 1,000 molecules, covering all major therapeutic areas, accounted for 2016 sales of USD 10.1 billion. In 2016, Sandoz’s products reached well over 500 million patients and continuously aspire to reach one billion. Sandoz is headquartered in Holzkirchen, in Germany’s Greater Munich area. For more information, please visit

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