Biosimilars as a sustainable option for the health system in Argentina

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The COVID-19 pandemic in Argentina has raised questions about its impact on highly complex medical treatments, which, because they are imported, are costly to the social security system, to the point that they make coverage unviable for many.

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A recent report by the Centre for Health Technology Assessment (Centro de Evaluación de Tecnologías Sanitarias, CETSA), part of the ISALUD University, Buenos Aires, Argentina, states that the costs of highly complex treatments could be lowered if biosimilar medicines are included in the national system.

CETSA from ISALUD University is a non-profit organization that was born from the will of different actors, such as representatives of social works to find a place for training and consultation within an academic environment, as is the ISALUD University, and has years of experience in the field of public health in Argentina. Health technology assessment and medical education are the core areas of CETSA. Its main mission is to form and organize programmatically a Health Technology Assessment team.

According to CETSA, if these drugs are used in the Argentine health system, savings of US$12.6 million would be achieved. The introduction of these therapeutics in international markets resulted in estimated savings of Euros 10 billion between 2016 and 2020 in five European countries (France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK). Experience in Europe suggests that by optimizing health budgets, health systems have more funds to invest in innovation and other health areas such as diagnostics, prevention, technologies, training of their professionals, and expanding the supply and accessibility of services for patients and health professionals.

The Director of CETSA-ISALUD and consultant in prioritization of health interventions at the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), Natalia Jorgensen, explained that communication and education on biosimilars is a fundamental aspect to generate the necessary confidence throughout the value chain. The director explained that in Argentina the introduction of biosimilars is more difficult because the health system is very fragmented and there is no national policy on biosimilars, so their introduction depends on each of the funders, including, for example, the decision taken by each of the 290 national social works (NGOs), the 24 provincial social works and the public sector. Thus, the process is slower and the economic impact one observes is likely to be smaller.

Editor’s comment
Readers interested to learn more about biosimilars in other countries are invited to visit www.gabi-journal.net to view the following manuscript published in GaBI Journal:

Biosimilars patent litigation in the EU and the US: a comparative strategic overview

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