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Biosimilars Canada Announces Board Chair and Vice-Chair

Toronto – March 1, 2021 – Biosimilars Canada is pleased to announce the unanimous re-election of Mr. Michel Robidoux, President and General Manager of Sandoz Canada, as Chair of the Biosimilars Canada Board.

Mr. Mike Woolcock, a Senior Vice President at Apobiologix, has been unanimously re-elected as Vice-Chair of the Biosimilars Canada Board.

The COVID-19 pandemic has burdened healthcare systems like never before and payers, employers, patients and healthcare providers are all looking for ways to create savings for sustainability. Biosimilars are an important solution. Biosimilars are safe, effective alternative versions of existing biologic medicines with scientifically comparable quality, safety and efficacy.

Mr. Robidoux noted that the full benefits of biosimilars cannot be realized unless drug plans adopt policies that support their expanded use, as the B.C. and Alberta public drug plans did with the implementation of successful biosimilar transitioning or “switching” policies in 2019.1,2 Under these policies patients who use a biologic drug to treat a chronic condition are transitioned or “switched” from an original biologic drug to a biosimilar biologic drug under the supervision of their treating physician.

This has enabled the provinces to provide expanded coverage of new innovative drugs for patients and to make other reinvestments in their healthcare systems, without impacting the equality of care or clinical outcomes for patients. Other provinces are working towards the implementation of biosimilar switching policies in 2021.

“Biosimilar medicines have an important role in supporting healthcare sustainability and patient care,” said Mr. Robidoux. “The implementation of biosimilar switching policies could save the Canadian health care system hundreds of millions of dollars, and is the responsible choice for those who are seeking to optimize their drug budgets.”

An October 2020 report by the Ontario Drug Policy Research Network (ODPRN)3 estimates that provincial drug plans could save up to $425.6 million annually by switching patients from three top-selling drugs in Canada – Humira adalimumab, Enbrel etanercept and Remicade infliximab – to biosimilar versions. A similar magnitude of savings would be available for employer-sponsored benefit plans.

Mr. Woolcock noted that there is extensive real-world experience with biosimilars in Canada, with more than 561,000 retail prescriptions filled annually. Biosimilars are also used extensively in the hospital and oncology markets. There have also been more than 178 clinical trials worldwide involving approximately 21,000 switched patients which confirm that switching from an originator biologic drug to a biosimilar biologic drug is not associated with any major efficacy, safety, or immunogenicity issues.4

“A Health Canada approval confirms that biosimilars are as safe and effective as originator biologics. Biosimilars are already providing considerable value to the Canadian healthcare system, and are poised to be a game-changer for drug budgets in much the same way that generic medicines were more than two decades ago,” added Mr. Woolcock.

Michel Robidoux has been President and General Manager of Sandoz Canada since 2010. He has more than 30 years of experience in the pharmaceutical and medical equipment industries, and is also an active contributor to the Canadian pharmaceutical industry as a member of the Executive Committee member of the CGPA and a member of the Board of Directors of the Canadian Association of Pharmaceutical Supply Management (CAPDM). Mr. Robidoux holds a Bachelor degree in Business Administration from the Université du Québec in Montreal and has an A.S.C. (certified company administrator) designation from the Collège des administrateurs de sociétés of Université Laval.

Mike Woolcock is a Senior Vice President at Apobiologix, the biologics division of Apotex. Mr. Woolcock has extensive commercial and supply operations leadership experience and has worked globally on several international assignments. He has also held many roles in research and development in both pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies. Mr. Woolcock earned his Bachelor of Science Degree in biochemistry and genetics from La Trobe University in Melbourne, Australia.

About Biosimilars Canada
Biosimilars Canada is a national association representing the biosimilar medicines industry in Canada. Our member companies are at the forefront of the global development and marketing of biosimilar medicines. Biosimilars Canada provides leadership in educating Canadian stakeholders about the safety and efficacy of biosimilar medicines, and advocates for policies that support their timely approval, reimbursement, market acceptance and expanded use. Biosimilars Canada is a division of the Canadian Generic Pharmaceutical Association. Visit us at

About Biosimilar Medicines5
A biosimilar biologic drug, or biosimilar, is a drug demonstrated to be highly similar to a biologic drug that was already authorized for sale. Health Canada evaluates all the information provided to confirm that the biosimilar and the reference biologic drug are similar and that there are no clinically meaningful differences in safety and efficacy between them. Health Canada’s rigorous standards for authorization mean that you can have the same confidence in the quality, safety and efficacy of a biosimilar as any other biologic drug.

Jeff Connell
Vice President, Corporate Affairs
Canadian Generic Pharmaceutical Association (CGPA)
Mobile: (647) 274-3379

1 B.C. PharmaCare website, Biosimilars Information for Patients.
2 Alberta Health website, Biosimilar drugs.
3 ODPRN, October 2020: Potential Cost Implications of Mandatory Non-Medical Switching Policies for Biologics for Rheumatic Conditions and Inflammatory Bowel Disease in Canada.
4 Barbier, L. et. al. The Efficacy, Safety, and Immunogenicity of Switching Between Reference Biopharmaceuticals and Biosimilars: A Systematic Review, March 31, 2020.
5 Health Canada, Biosimilar biologic drugs in Canada: Fact Sheet.

Biosimilars Canada Announces Board Chair and Vice-Chair