Clinical and Regulatory Challenges and Opportunities for Monoclonal Antibodies in Low- and Middle-Income Countries: Lessons from COVID-19 and Beyond

Pharmaceut Med. 2023 May;37(3):203-214. doi: 10.1007/s40290-023-00473-z. Epub 2023 Apr 28.


Monoclonal antibodies are an effective and growing class of pharmaceuticals for the treatment and prevention of a broad range of non-communicable and infectious diseases; however, most low- and middle-income countries have limited access to these innovative products. Many factors contribute to the global inequity of access to these products; however, in this report, we focus on clinical and regulatory complexities as further highlighted by the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic. Despite a higher prevalence of many diseases in low- and middle-income countries, only 12% of clinical trials for monoclonal antibodies are conducted in these countries. Additionally, only a fraction of the available monoclonal antibodies in the USA and European Union are authorized for use in low- and middle-income countries. Through learnings from desk research and global symposia with international partners, we present recommendations to harmonize processes and facilitate regional and international collaborations for more rapid approval of fit-for-purpose innovative monoclonal antibodies and biosimilars in low- and middle-income countries.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Biosimilar Pharmaceuticals*
  • COVID-19*
  • Developing Countries
  • European Union
  • Humans


  • Biosimilar Pharmaceuticals
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal