India-based company brings affordable insulin to 2 PH towns

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 23 2020 02:12 PM

Dr. Christian Hamacher, CEO and managing director of Biocon Biologics. Handout

MANILA -- A biosimilars company headquartered in Bangalore, India is bringing its integrated diabetes management program to the Philippines to give patients access to affordable insulin products. 

Biocon Biologics has entered a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the local governments of the municipalities of Pototan in Iloilo and Cuartero in Capiz, as well as with the social enterprise reach52.

The MOUs are part of the company's "Mission 10 Cents" program, which aims to make recombinant human insulin available for less than 10 US cents per day in low- and middle-income countries.

"We choose to start with Iloilo and Capiz as our social enterprise partner reach52 has experience of working with these municipal governments to strengthen local health systems," Dr. Christian Hamacher, CEO and managing director of Biocon Biologics, said in an online interview with ABS-CBN News.

She added that they are looking at a "long-term" partnership with the Philippines, noting that diabetes is one of the "fastest growing" diseases in the country. 

Aside from providing affordable insulin for patients, Biocon Biologics also plans to conduct diabetes awareness campaigns, deliver diabetes screening for early detection, and build capacity in primary and secondary health centers in the two municipalities. 

When asked about how their company is responding to the pandemic, Hamacher said they have repurposed two of their approved and in-market products for treating hospitalized COVID-19 patients in India.

She said these include "a novel biologic, Itolizumab, to treat moderate to severe COVID-19 patients; and an innovative device, Cytosorb, for critical patients."

"Since then many physicians have been using our drug and have saved many lives in India," she said.