Bengaluru, NFAPost : Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, founder of leading pharmaceutical company Biocon, announced her vision and personal commitment towards enabling universal access to high quality insulin by offering recombinant human Insulin (rh-Insulin) at less than 10 US cents per day in low and middle-income countries (LMICs).
Biocon chief made the announcement at an United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) side meeting on innovation and universal health access convened by UNAIDS Health Innovation Exchange, in the presence of the President of Ethiopia, the First Lady of Namibia, Health Ministers from Botswana and Malawi, and representatives from the private sector and development agencies. The forum on ‘Accelerating Innovations and Investments for Access to Healthcare’ was co-sponsored by UNAIDS and the Center for Global Health and Development.
“Governments have a collective moral responsibility to provide standard of care to every citizen and patient in the world. My own country India has embarked on a path to provide Universal Healthcare to its citizens through an ambitious program called Ayushman Bharat which aims to serve the poorest families in Phase 1 and then expand it over time to cover every citizen. At my own company, we take that word UNIVERSAL very seriously in addressing the needs of diabetics and cancer patients through our products and services. As the head of my organisation Biocon, I stand here as a committed stakeholder of the global health agenda under SDG, ” she said.
Biocon Biologics’ recombinant human insulin has been developed using the scientific expertise and world class research and development and manufacturing facilities that have allowed it to bring multiple biosimilar medicines to the US and Europe.
I am pleased to announce that Biocon will make its recombinant human insulin available at less than 10 cents per day in low and middle income countries. These countries contribute to 80 per cent of the global diabetes burden. In comparison, the current US list price in retail is over 5 dollars / day or more. We have, over the last 15 years, delivered 2 billion doses of Insulin to patients in the developing world on an embedded affordability platform. We are committed to expanding this access to patients in all regions of the world.
The Biocon Chief also called upon device producers to march in step and ensure lower prices for the pens and needles required to administer the drug.
Multiple organ disease
Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw pointed out that diabetes and its associated co-morbidities poses perhaps the biggest financial challenge to any proposed universal healthcare model. In fact, it creates an economic future mortgaged to paying for multiple organ disease and loss of productivity.
“Physiologically, Diabetes is symptomatic of unmanaged blood sugar due to sub-optimal production of Insulin, a hormone that regulates glucose in the body. It is well known that late adoption of exogenous insulin aggravates metabolic disorders, leading to greater morbidity and loss of quality of life. Early Insulin intervention reduces the risk of co-morbidities, ” Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw
Biocon is a leading global insulins player with over 15 years of experience in addressing the needs of patients with diabetes, having provided over 2 billion doses of human insulin worldwide, thus far. The Company is committed to use its science, scale and expertise to shift the access paradigm for patients in need of insulins.
The announcement by Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw is guided by her conviction that a life-enabling product like insulin cannot be priced out of the reach of those that need it on an everyday basis, whether in the US or in middle income countries which contributes to 80% of the global disease burden.
Biocon’s Recombinant Human insulin offer of less than 10 US cents / day in LMICs is for vials sourced by the government directly from Biocon, assuming an insulin dosage of 40 IU per day. Currently, the blended median patient prices in LMICs are US$ 9** per 10 ml vial translating to 36 US cents/ day. The current US list price in retail is over US$ 5*** / day.
Biocon, an India-based global biopharmaceuticals company is committed to affordability and access and will 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.
Biocon Biologics is willing to work with governments to ensure ways to overcome price barriers, including through special pricing and setting up low-cost manufacturing facilities via public-private partnerships in order to address the huge cost burden borne by people with diabetes.
In high income regions like the US, Biocon believes it can make a dramatic impact on the current insulin pricing crisis if its ongoing discussions with the regulators allow the company to scientifically bridge its clinical data to US reference product. This will reduce clinical development costs and bring the product years earlier to patients who cannot afford insulin therapy.
Ms Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw is a healthcare visionary and philanthropist. Her vision is to enable universal access to high quality medical products, particularly to address the global chronic disease burden. She is a pioneer of India’s biotech industry and founder of the country’s leading biotechnology enterprise, Biocon. A thought leader and a global influencer, she has been ranked among ‘World’s 25 Most Influential People in Biopharma’ by Fierce Biotech. She was No. 1 in the Business Captains category on the ‘Medicine Maker Power List’ 2018, an index of the 100 most influential people across the globe in the field of medicine, where she has been among the Top 10 continuously since 2015.
She is a full-term member of the MIT Corporation, the board of trustees of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and member of the National Academy of Engineering, US. She is on the board of directors of the US-India Business Council (USIBC) and has previously served as a member of the board of trustees of the US Pharmacopeial Convention (USP). She has been conferred with the Advancing Women in Science and Medicine Award for Excellence by the Feinstein Institute for Medical Research, US and Othmer Gold Medal by the Chemical Heritage Foundation, US.
Biocon Limited, publicly listed in 2004, in India is a fully-integrated, innovation-led global biopharmaceuticals company committed to enhance affordable access to complex therapies for chronic conditions like diabetes, cancer and autoimmune diseases, benefitting a billion lives.
Biocon Biologics is its wholly owned subsidiary engaged in providing affordable access to high quality biosimilars to patients across the globe. It is driven by its vision to transform patients’ lives across the globe through innovative and inclusive healthcare solutions. Biocon’s rh-Insulin and Insulin Glargine products are already benefiting people with diabetes in many emerging and developed markets. In multiple countries like Mexico and Malaysia, nearly all insulin-requiring diabetics take Biocon’s insulins. Its rh-Insulin is registered in over 40 countries worldwide.
The Company is serving patients in U.S., EU, Japan, Latin America, Africa, Middle East and Turkey and the Asia-Pacific regions through its high quality biosimilars for diabetes and cancer. Biocon’s large scale, state-of-the-art bio-manufacturing facilities are qualified by various regulatory agencies from developed and emerging markets.