On November 2nd, 2018, the GaBI Journal published an article by Former FDA Associate Commissioner, Peter J. Pitts and ASBM Executive Director Michael Reilly, entitled “Medicines regulation in the Middle East and the importance of the World Health Organization’s INN proposal of Biological Qualifier”.

The article examines the safety and pharmacovigilance benefits the WHO’s BQ proposal would bring to Middle Eastern countries if and when it were to be made available. From the abstract:

When it comes to monitoring the quality, safety and efficacy of biological medicines, distinguishable naming is imperative because biosimilar therapies are similar to, but not exactly the same as, existing biological medicines. Since no biosimilar is perfectly identical to its innovator parent, every biological – whether reference product or biosimilar – must be fully distinguishable from other biologicals to permit quick and accurate tracing of its manufacturer, should an adverse event be observed. Precise naming of all biologicals will improve patient safety by reducing confusion and mishaps in prescribing and holding manufacturers accountable. Also, differential nomenclature helps enable national health authorities to collect and compare real-world data that measure the clinical effects of biologicals including biosimilars. Insights from such data, over time, will enable us to better measure a drug’s effectiveness in delivering successful health outcomes for patients.The World Health Organization (WHO) must finalize their Biologic Qualifier guidance. It is this organization that has the responsibility to ensure that developing nations of the world have access to affordable, quality medicines. Safety is mission critical and the Biological Qualifier is a potent tool on behalf of global public health.

Read the full article here.