The World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Generic and Biosimilar Medicines Association (IGBA) have agreed to work together to promote access to generic and biosimilar drugs.
Earlier this week, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General, and Jim Keon, Chair of the IGBA, signed a memorandum of understanding and agreed to address barriers to access to generics and biosimilars including high prices and regulatory issues such as long lag times in bringing medicines to market.
The WHO is already an active supporter of expanding use of generic medicines. and the vast majority of the products on the WHO Essential Medicines List are generic. Furthermore, the WHO’s pre-qualification programme, which assesses the quality of priority medicines supplied by UN agencies and other organisations in low-income countries, has prioritised generic medicines as a way to treat more people with the funds available.
The new agreement will facilitate cooperation between the two organisations to reduce the burden of clinical trials for biosimilars, speeding up registration and increasing access.
In a statement, the WHO said the new agreement “is an important first step towards increased collaboration with the generic and biosimilar industry for long-lasting impact on access to health products and progress towards universal health coverage.”