During the Fourth Latin American Summit on Policies and Access to Biological and Biosimilar Drugs held in Peru September 6th, public officers committed themselves to work for greater access to quality oncological drugs for the population. The summit, which was attended by international experts, leaders of patient associations and representatives of the public sector, was focused on the discussion of policies to improve access to oncological drugs and raise the quality control standards of the medicines that are imported into the countries.
The researcher and expert in clinical pharmacology, Gilberto Castañeda, said that there is still much to be done in Latin America regarding pharmacovigilance oncology. Castañeda explained that national regulations on biosimilar drugs must be strict so that patients and health professionals can be certain that such products are effectively biosimilar.
Participants addressed the limited access of ill patients to innovative medical technologies, due to the complex processes of public procurement of drugs. “In the case of rare or chronic diseases, medical technologies will always be expensive to produce, so the benefit to the patient must be evaluated, with multiple criteria, not only the cost” stated Karla Ruiz de Castilla, Executive Director of the Association of Patients with Chronic Noncommunicable Diseases (ESPERANTRA). Peruvian legislator Ursula Letona (Fuerza Popular, opposition) agreed that patient safety and quality of life should be given priority over drug production costs.