23 June 2020
Category : Opinion
The biopharmaceutical sector in Cuba has managed to take significant steps forward in the midst of the Covid-19 crisis. Darien García tells us about this below
The expert from the Cuba-EU II Experiences Exchange project, Darien García Díaz, shares with us the important advances that the programme is making in the Cuban biopharmaceutical sector in the current context of Covid-19. He also relates how the programme has had to adapt to new circumstances to continue its operation and joint cooperation.
Composed of more than 30 institutions, BioCubaFarma is the main business group in the Cuban biopharmaceutical sector. Its structure, which includes closed cycle centres, enables ideas to be generated leading to innovative products, their development, production, and marketing, it also promotes the training of young professionals through its academic programmes and close collaboration with the Ministry of Public Health and the Cuban educational system. The main priority for the products produced in its facilities is to supply the national networks of pharmacies and hospitals, and secondly, they constitute an important source of exports that, due to their quality, have contributed to gaining a well-deserved international reputation. Areas such as cancer, complications of diabetes, autoimmune diseases and infectious diseases are successfully addressed through its research programmes.
The need to properly evaluate the efficiency of these products in terms of their costs and therapeutic effects using pharmaco-economic tools led to the start of a successful collaboration relationship with the European Union, through the Experience Exchange Programme coordinated by FIIAPP and the Cuban National Economic Research Institute (INIE). More than 8 actions have and are being carried out with international experts in the field during the 2018-2020 period, with the Carlos III University in Madrid playing a fundamental role in their coordination, leading to the training of 21 Cuban specialists who have been involved in achieving important objectives for BioCubaFarma. The main results include the economic evaluation of Heberprot P for diabetic foot ulcers in Mexico, which allowed it to be accepted by the corresponding regulatory bodies; the economic evaluation of nimotuzumab for head and neck cancer; and cost studies on vaccination programmes for pneumococcus and rotavirus in Cuba.
In the midst of the current Covid-19 epidemic which has led to an international economic and health crisis, the identification of actions that will enable the accelerated implementation of programmes to combat the virus and adequate decision-making have become a priority for the Experience Exchange Programme and for BioCubaFarma. The international event “Virtual ISPOR 2020 HEOR: Advancing Evidence to Action” arose as a unique opportunity that is part of this strategy. The sessions included a plenary conference to investigate the results and economic aspects related to Covid-19, as well as topics covering the challenges for health policies, clinical decision-making and new designs for cost-effectiveness studies. Case studies were presented including the Singapore National Centre for Infectious Diseases and its Outpatient Screening and Capabilities Centre. In addition, the presentation discussed the strategies for detecting suspected cases during outbreaks and protocols for segregating patients with different risk levels to prevent cross-infection.
The virtual nature of the programme allowed the participation of a Cuban specialist as delegate and an exchange between top-level figures along with access to more than 60 hours of conferences that will be kept as reference material for the Cuban company and other interested international entities. Additionally, membership of ISPOR was organised for the participating Cuban specialist, which allows access to leading publications on the subject, additional virtual events and exchange networks in this discipline that will have a positive impact on BioCubaFarma.
The continuation of the actions from the Experience Exchange Programme with the European Union in the current international context, undoubtedly, represents an important cooperation action that will raise the scientific, economic and social standards of the Cuban biopharmaceutical company.
Darien García Díaz, a specialist from the BioCubaFarma Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology and counterpart in the Cuba-EU II Experience Exchange Programme.
The views and opinions expressed in this blog are the sole responsibility of the person who write them.