Twenty-nine leading regulatory authorities, including Health Canada, have issued a statement confirming patients and clinicians can have confidence in biosimilars. The International Coalition of Medicines Regulatory Authorities (ICMRA) statement notes that have been used safely for many years, and confirms that regulators have not identified any important differences in side effects between biosimilars and their respective originators.
Biosimilars Canada has compiled a list of news stories from Canada and abroad about biosimilars that may be of interest to readers. These links to third-party websites are provided for informational purposes only, and do represent an endorsement from our organization. Biosimilars Canada’s statements and news releases are available here.
British Columbia has become the first province to implement a biosimilar switching initiative. “The evidence clearly shows that these patients can transition from original biologics to biosimilars safely and effectively, which are key considerations that have always been our top priorities with this change,” said Adrian Dix, Minister of Health. “We know that the use of biosimilars in other countries has worked extremely well in ensuring people get the medication they need and it’s time we caught up. By using biosimilars in B.C., we will be putting about $96.6 million back into health care over the next three years.”
The CRA has released an updated position statement that “encourages rheumatologists to provide the best care for individual patients and be fiscally responsible for the benefit of society as a whole. Rheumatologists should consider choosing the most cost-effective product when there is a choice available between an originator biologic and a biosimilar and must be mindful of cost savings.”
Health Canada has decided that all biologic drugs, including biosimilars, will be identified by their unique brand name and non-proprietary (common) name, without the addition of a product-specific suffix. The position follows the approach of the European Medicines Agency and Australia’s Therapeutic Goods Agency, and is supported by Biosimilars Canada and the International Generic and Biosimilar Medicines Association (IGBA).
Insurer Green Shield Canada (GSC) reports the results of its biosimilar transition pilot program. Biosimilar transitioning programs are now available for use to all GSC plan sponsors.
The Canadian Agency from Drugs and Technology in Health (CADTH) has published an environmental scan of international post-market policies, programs, and other strategies that have been established to guide the uptake of biosimilars and to promote their appropriate and cost-effective use.