TORONTO, May 27, 2019 /CNW/ - The Canadian Biosimilars Forum today commends the Government of British Columbia (B.C.) for taking a decisive step toward enhancing patient care by implementing well-controlled, one-time transitions of those patients currently using a reference biologic drug to its biosimilar. Through this policy move, we believe B.C. will secure significant savings that could be reinvested in expanding access to existing therapies and accelerating access to new medicines.
"The province's announcement underscores the value biosimilars can provide to patients and their physicians once a reference biologic medicine has lost market exclusivity, and we urge other provinces across the country to follow B.C.'s lead," said Jennifer Chan, a board member of the Forum and Vice President, Policy and External Affairs at Merck Canada.
People Can Have the Same Confidence in the Quality, Safety and Efficacy of a Biosimilar as any Other Biologic Drug
Biosimilars are biologic drugs that Health Canada has found to be highly similar to a reference biologic drug already authorized for sale across the country.i Health Canada has stated that "patients and health care providers can have the same confidence in the quality, safety and efficacy of a biosimilar as any other biologic drug."ii
"We are pleased to see the government of B.C. take a policy decision that will help more patients access more of the medicines they need," said Frédéric Lavoie, a board member of the Forum and Vice President, Access and Government Relations at Pfizer Canada.
Enhancing Access and Delivering Significant Health Care System Savings
Beyond their immediate benefits to patients and physicians, biosimilars can also provide important relief to health care systems struggling to keep up with the rising cost of biologic treatments. Biologics are one of Canada's fastest-growing segments of pharmaceutical spending, accounting for sales of $7.6B in 2017.iii Currently, biologics account for 35.5 percent of total brand prescription sales in this country, including seven out of the top 10 pharmaceutical drugs.iv
"For provinces already dealing with stretched health care budgets, biosimilars offer a unique opportunity to capture savings that can be invested in new treatments and medical services," said Karine Matteau, a board member of the Forum and Executive Director & Head of Biopharmaceuticals at Sandoz Canada.
Canada is Catching Up with the World
Biosimilars have been used across Europe for more than a decade and have generated over 700 million patient days of clinical experience.v To date, 13 countries (including Finland, Norway, Ireland, UK, Denmark, Germany, Netherlands, Belgium, France, Portugal, Poland, Czech Republic, and Slovakia) already support policies to transition patients from a reference biologic medicine to its biosimilar.vi
Other Provinces Should Follow B.C.'s Lead
Despite the benefits biosimilars can offer, the use of these medicines in Canada remains low. Canadian provinces now have a unique opportunity to follow B.C.'s lead and take the foundational steps required to create a long-term, competitive biosimilars industry that expands and accelerates access to these medicines while supporting the sustainability of health care systems across the country.
The Forum encourages other provinces to work with physicians to implement policies that support well-controlled, one-time transitions of those patients currently using a reference biologic drug to its biosimilar. These transitioning strategies should be accompanied by the same extensive stakeholder engagement and robust education programs that are hallmarks of B.C.'s approach.
About the Canadian Biosimilars Forum
The Canadian Biosimilars Forum is an alliance of companies representing the breadth of the biosimilars industry who came together to educate and inform Canadians about the opportunity and the evidence regarding biosimilars and to create the path to a robust, sustainable and competitive Canadian biosimilars market. The Forum membership today includes Merck Canada, Pfizer Canada, Sandoz Canada and Teva Canada.
The Forum is focused on accomplishing three fundamental goals: first, providing evidence-based information to inform and support public policies that encourage access and adoption of biosimilars; second, raising awareness of biosimilars ? and their distinctiveness ? and serving as a credible resource for timely and unbiased information regarding biosimilars; and third, providing an opportunity for companies developing biosimilars for Canada to work with key stakeholders on topics instrumental to biosimilars and patient care. For more information, please consult the Canadian Biosimilars Forum website.
i Health Canada. Fact Sheet: Biosimilars. Accessed August 13, 2018. Available at: https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/drugs-health-products/biologics-radiopharmaceuticals-genetic-therapies/applications-submissions/guidance-documents/fact-sheet-biosimilars.html
ii Health Canada. Fact Sheet: Biosimilars. Accessed August 13, 2018. Available at: https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/drugs-health-products/biologics-radiopharmaceuticals-genetic-therapies/applications-submissions/guidance-documents/fact-sheet-biosimilars.html
iii IQVIA PharmaFocus 2021 Update: Section 9 The Business of Pharmaceutical, November 2017 ? p.116
iv IQVIA PharmaFocus 2021 Update: Section 9 The Business of Pharmaceutical, November 2017 ? p.116
v Medicines for Europe, Biosimilar Medicines, 2018. Accessed July 12, 2018. Available: www.medicinesforeurope.com/biosimilar-medicines
vi Biopharma Report, Biosimilar Switching, Interchangeability and Substitution?the EU View. Accessed July 12, 2018. Available: www.biopharma-reporter.com/Article/2017/03/21/Biosimilr-switching-interchangeability-and-substitution-the-EU-view
SOURCE Canadian Biosimilars Forum
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