Senior researcher of the state company Erman Tritama said here on Sunday a Bio Farmas team of researchers is developing biosimilar ready to go to the market in 2019.
Erman said Bio Farma plans to sell its biosimilar more than 50 percent cheaper than biosimilar for breast cancers produced by the Swiss based La Roche priced at Rp25 million per dosage.
A biosimilar is a biological product that is approved based on a showing that it is highly similar to an FDA-approved biological product, known as a reference product, and has no clinically meaningful differences in terms of safety and effectiveness from the reference product.
Breast cancer biosimilar of La Roche is patented for 20 years, and the patent would expire in 2019, Erman said.
The patent right bans other companies from producing biosimilars until 2019 giving the patent holder a monopoly that allows it to sell its product at high price.
A cancer patient has to pay Rp125 million for biosimilar as she would need five dosages.
Bio Farma, however, as a state company, has a social mission for the people that it would not seek only commercial gain, he said.
"The plan is that we would put the price at Rp7.5 million per dosage or 30 percent cheaper than the market price, Ermans aid.
A patient , therefore, would need only Rp37.5 million to pay for the five dosage needed.
Erman said Indonesia has to be ready and immediately launch its breast cancer biosimilar product.
"In 2019, the patent right would expire. Other countries also are ready to launch their biosimilar products. Therefore, we must be quick to enter the market with cheaper price," he said.
The superiority of biosimilars over chemical medicines is its minimum side effects and it is easier to digest as it is made of molecules of live creatures.
Bio Farma also is developing vaccine for typhus and pneumonia also with prices much lower than the market price at present.(*)