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Dr. Hurvitz on the Potential Global Impact of Biosimilars in Breast Cancer

Sara Hurvitz, MD
Published: Friday, Aug 23, 2019



Sara Hurvitz, MD, associate professor, David Geffen School of Medicine, UCLA; medical director, Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center Clinical Research Unit; co-director, Santa Monica-UCLA Outpatient Oncology Practices; and director, Breast Cancer Clinical Trials Program, UCLA, discusses the potential global impact of biosimilars in breast cancer.

Biosimilars are slated to have the greatest impact in developing countries. A question that is often asked is where trastuzumab (Herceptin) should be used in this space. In developing countries, providers often have to choose whether to use trastuzumab in the early-stage setting or the metastatic setting as there is not enough of a supply for its use in both. There are also constraints on the biosimilar’s use as treatment after progression where data indicate patients can still derive benefit from it.

The introduction of biosimilars may also have a substantial impact on Western society where healthcare costs are incredibly high, she adds. Ultimately, biosimilars are poised to increase access to lifesaving therapy, Hurvitz concludes.
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Sara Hurvitz, MD, associate professor, David Geffen School of Medicine, UCLA; medical director, Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center Clinical Research Unit; co-director, Santa Monica-UCLA Outpatient Oncology Practices; and director, Breast Cancer Clinical Trials Program, UCLA, discusses the potential global impact of biosimilars in breast cancer.

Biosimilars are slated to have the greatest impact in developing countries. A question that is often asked is where trastuzumab (Herceptin) should be used in this space. In developing countries, providers often have to choose whether to use trastuzumab in the early-stage setting or the metastatic setting as there is not enough of a supply for its use in both. There are also constraints on the biosimilar’s use as treatment after progression where data indicate patients can still derive benefit from it.

The introduction of biosimilars may also have a substantial impact on Western society where healthcare costs are incredibly high, she adds. Ultimately, biosimilars are poised to increase access to lifesaving therapy, Hurvitz concludes.

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