Toronto – April 9, 2021 – Biosimilars Canada today congratulated British Columbia and Health Minister Adrian Dix on the expansion of the province’s biosimilar switching program to include Humira adalimumab and a new indication for Enbrel etanercept.
Almost 6,000 B.C. PharmaCare patients taking Humira adalimumab will transition to an adalimumab biosimilar over the next six months (between April 7 and October 6). Minister Dix says this will save the province more than $100 million over three years – above and beyond the significant drug program reinvestment and savings the province has already achieved under its biosimilars program, which was launched in May 2019.
B.C. also continues to apply its biosimilar switching policy as new indications become available for marketed biosimilars, and patients taking Enbrel etanercept for the treatment of plaque psoriasis will transition to an etanercept biosimilar during the same period.
“The expansion of British Columbia’s biosimilar switching program demonstrates the province’s continued confidence in biosimilars as a way to manage costs and fund innovative new therapies while supporting positive patient outcomes,” said Jim Keon, President of Biosimilars Canada, a national association representing Canada’s biosimilar medicines industry. “Biosimilars Canada congratulates the Province of British Columbia and Health Minister Adrian Dix for their ongoing leadership in supporting the expanded use of biosimilars in Canada.”
Humira adalimumab is the #2 selling biologic drug in Canada with more than $974 million in sales recorded in 2020, according to IQVIA data. Humira adalimumab and adalimumab biosimilars are used to treat such conditions as rheumatoid arthritis, polyarticular juvenile idiopathic arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, hidradenitis suppurativa, moderate to severe plaque psoriasis, and psoriatic arthritis.
As domestic and international experience has shown, 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 switching policies in 2019.
“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,” said Keon. “Switching to biosimilar treatments is the responsible choice for drug programs, and it is time for other provinces to bring the benefits of biosimilar switching programs to their patients, health care providers and taxpayers.”
B.C.’s announcement is available at: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2021HLTH0067-000653.
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 www.biosimilarscanada.ca.
About Biosimilar Medicines1
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.
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Canadian Generic Pharmaceutical Association (CGPA)
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1Health Canada, Biosimilar biologic drugs in Canada: Fact Sheet.