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PAHEF Hosts Two Workshops in Mexico to Educate about Safety of Biosimilars

Background on Biosimilars

In the world of medicine, many people are familiar with what a generic medication is. However, few know what a biosimilar is.

Medicines, such as insulin, that are developed by using living systems have complex structures based on living cells that cannot be replicated without using the original source. Biosimilars (also known as “biocomparables” in Mexico and “follow-on proteins” in the United States) are an attempt to produce similar or so-called generic versions of biotechnological medicines.


However, because biosimilar medicines are based on living cells, there is a host of development, manufacturing, production, and storage issues to consider. This makes it difficult for a biosimilar to be exactly the same as the original medicine.  Therefore, if they cannot be considered as generic copies, it is fundamental to conduct pre-clinical and clinical studies to understand the safety, efficacy, and quality of both the reference and biosimilar medicines.

drmensesWorkshops in Mexico City
PAHEF hosted two workshops in Mexico City in the autumn of 2010 to provide relevant information to attendees about biotechnological medicines and biosimilars. More than 100 cancer patients from various hospitals in Mexico City attended the first workshop. The workshop was entitled “Love yourself to give all that you have — attitude makes all the difference.” Dr. Abelardo Meneses, adjunct director general of the National Institute of Oncology in Mexico City and member of PAHEF’s Biotech Mexican Council, lead the presentation that provided an overview about cancer, biotechnological medications, and the application of those medications to areas of oncology.

Members of the medical division from five of Mexico’s most prominent NGOs attended the second workshop. Four members from the Safe Biotech Initiative Mexican Council lead the discussion, which focused on:

• the reality of biotechnological medications;
• biotechnological medications vs. biocomparables; and
• the regulatory landscape in Mexico.

By taking a leading role in educating patients and medical professionals about the risks and benefits of biotechnological medications and biosimilars, PAHEF is actively improving patient safety in Latin America.

If you would like to host one of these workshops in your organization, please contact Edward Kadunc at 202-974-3416.

Learn more about PAHEF’s Safe Biotech Initiative

A Sample of Recent PAHEF Projects in the Region