About IAPO Americas
Welcome to IAPO Americas, the International Alliance of Patients’ Organizations (IAPO) online platform on Biological and Biosimilar Medicines.
Eva Maria Ruiz de Castilla, IAPO Governing Board Member
IAPO has a core value of involving patients and patients’ organizations in debate and policy-making at the international, regional, national and local levels. In order for patients’ organizations to be meaningfully involved in the debate and effective advocates, they must be well informed on the issues that are, or will be, affecting patients’ lives.
Biological medicines are made from living organisms using biotechnology techniques. Since their introduction in the 1980s they have revolutionized the treatment of many diseases such as cancers, diabetes, autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, heart attacks, stroke, and multiple sclerosis, and for a number of rare disorders. They have benefited millions of patients worldwide.
As many of these original biological medicines reached the end of their patents, other manufacturers were able to produce highly similar versions of these medicines. These highly similar versions of biological medicines are commonly called biosimilar medicines.
In the past decade there have been many developments in biological and biosimilar medicines, with biosimilar medicines coming to market in a number of countries. This raises the need for patients’ organizations and patients to be informed as to the situation and what it means for them.
As governments work to increase access to healthcare in Latin America, more biological and biosimilar medicines will become available to patients, providing an opportunity to take stock and provide new and updated information regarding these medicines to patients. There will also be the need to explore issues such as regulation and transparency, access, patient information and support, and patient involvement in decision-making.
This platform provides patients’ organizations with up-to-date, evidence-based information on the science, technology and regulatory information relevant to biological and biosimilar medicines. It also offers a platform for discussions and debates on current issues relating to patient engagement on this issue, ensuring the patient voice is amplified.
IAPO hopes these resources will allow patient advocates to make informed judgements on the value of biological and biosimilar medicines and actively engage in debate and discussion with other stakeholders involved in healthcare. This platform is primarily available in Spanish and English, however there are a number of resources also available in Portuguese. It was funded as part of IAPO's programme of activities in the region in 2014. Find out more here.
This platform, which builds on the IAPO Information and Advocacy Toolkit published in 2013, was developed in consultation with IAPO member patient representatives from the region as well as from relevant experts in this field. As this develops, the views and needs of patients’ from across the region will continue to be assessed. The platform will be updated with new webinars, blog posts and information from our expert committee over the coming months.
Please note: the thoughts and opinions expressed by external stakeholders on this platform are those of the contributors alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of IAPO.