Called "trastuzumab", the new drug is a type of "biosimilar" medicine, which means that it was made from living sources like cells and not from synthesized chemicals. It has shown a high efficacy rate in treating early-stage cancer as well as a few cases of more advanced stage breast cancer.
“WHO prequalification of biosimilar trastuzumab is good news for women everywhere,” said Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General. “Women in many cultures suffer from gender disparity when it comes to accessing health services. In poor countries, there is the added burden of a lack of access to treatment for many, and the high cost of medicines. Effective, affordable breast cancer treatment should be a right for all women, not the privilege of a few.”
With trastuzumab prequalified by WHO, its price is expected to drop even further. It's generally priced 65 percent cheaper than the original drug, which costs $20,000.
WHO's International Agency for Research estimates that by 2040, diagnosed breast cancers will surge to 3.1 million in number, the increase the highest in low to middle-income nations.