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Euronews Debates | Shaping the future of biosimilar medicine in Europe

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With the cost of healthcare in Europe spiralling, experts are considering how we can build the sustainable healthcare system of the future.

Currently, around a third of healthcare spending goes towards biologic medicines – drugs that use living organisms as ingredients. These medicines target parts of your immune system to treat disease, and are especially effective for the treatment of illnesses such as arthritis.

But while they are effective, and in ever-growing demand, they are costly. IQVIA, a biopharmaceutical company, found biologics accounted for 34 per cent of medicine spending in Europe in 2021, at a total cost of €78.6 billion.

With healthcare systems under increasing financial strain, especially in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, more cost-effective alternatives could be seen as welcome.

Biosimilar drugs are highly similar to biological medicines in terms of structure, biological activity, and efficacy, but they are vastly cheaper to develop. This is because they are often developed based on a successful biologic drug once its patent has expired.

For example, in 2017 the NHS in England saved £324 million (€373 million) by switching from using ten expensive medicines to biosimilars and generics.

But, across Europe, their take-up is patchy.

Euronews is gathering a panel of experts, industry leaders and key players in Brussels to discuss the challenges around creating a sustainable biosimilar market system.

On November 15, from 1530 CET, our live panel, at the European Parliament, will discuss key questions such as:

  • What forces are shaping the biosimilar medicines market in Europe?

  • What is currently being done and what needs to be addressed in the future to create a uniform, sustainable system?

  • Why has there been a slow take-up of biosimilars in some countries?

  • What does it all mean for patients and Europe’s healthcare systems as a whole?

Our expert panellists will consist of:

  • Tomislav Sokol, MEP, Group of the European People’s Party & Member of the EU’s Special Committee on the COVID-19 Pandemic: lessons learned and recommendations for the future
  • Adrian van den Hoven, Director General, Medicines for Europe
  • Ian Henshaw, Global Head of Biosimilars, Biogen
  • Luisa Avedano, Chief Executive Officer, European Federation of Crohn’s & Ulcerative Colitis Associations

The debate will take place during Global Biosimilars Week. It is the third annual social media campaign encouraging people to share their stories, resources and information on social media with the hashtag #GlobalBiosimilarsWeek.

Ask your questions, join the debate, and let us know what you think. Our guests are ready to answer!

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