News | May 27, 2019

BC PharmaCare's Biosimilars Initiative An Important Step Towards Improving Patient Access To Safe And Effective Medicines

  • Biosimilars Initiative implementation could contribute to significant cost savings for the BC healthcare system
  • British Columbia’s initiative is the first-of-its-kind policy in Canada aimed at increasing the adoption of biosimilars in Canada
  • Sandoz Canada is committed to supporting patients, their healthcare professionals, as well as the BC Government with the policy implementation

Boucherville, QC (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) - Sandoz Canada welcomes British Columbia (BC) PharmaCare’s announcement to implement the Biosimilars Initiative with the goal to expand the use of biosimilars available on the market and generate significant cost savings to the healthcare system. Under the Biosimilars Initiative, coverage for certain reference biologic drugs will be discontinued for affected patients and coverage will instead be provided for their biosimilars.

The first-of-its-kind policy in Canada has the potential to generate significant cost savings for the British Columbia healthcare system through wider adoption of biosimilar medicines. At the same time, it provides patients with access to the critical biologic medicines they need by expanding treatment options and improving access to new medicines.

“This policy is an important step towards increasing patient access to high-quality, life-enhancing biosimilar medicines and realizing significant cost reductions for the healthcare system. It will also help accelerate the adoption of biosimilars beyond what is currently available. We urge other provinces across the country to follow B.C. in taking the essential steps required to create a sustainable Canadian healthcare system,” said Michel Robidoux, President and General Manager, Sandoz Canada.

Biologic medicines are improving the lives of many patients in Canada. However, while reference biologics medicines account for less than 2% of prescribed drugs in Canada, the costs associated with them represent nearly 30% of national drug costs2. Biosimilar medicines can increase access to effective treatments for patients, as well as reduce the ongoing economic burden on the Canadian healthcare system that is affecting patients, physicians and payers. The Patented Medicines Pricing Review Board has estimated that private and public drug plans across Canada could save from $332 million Cdn to $1.81 billion Cdn in the third year following biosimilar entry across a portfolio of products 3.

Sandoz is a pioneer and leader in the biosimilar industry based on its global experience and capabilities in the development, manufacturing and commercialization of biosimilars since 1996. Sandoz launched the first biosimilar in Europe in 2006 and on the Canadian market in 2009.

“We are committed to supporting patients and their healthcare professionals through this transition and beyond, not only with our proven safe and effective biosimilar medicines, but also with experienced, full-service patient support programs,” continued Mr. Robidoux.

About Biosimilars
A biosimilar is a biologic drug that is demonstrated to be highly similar to a reference biologic drug, with no clinically meaningful differences in terms of safety and efficacy. Biosimilars may enter the market after the expiry of reference biologic drug patents and data protections. For more information about biosimilars, please read Health Canada’s factsheet1.

About Sandoz Canada
Sandoz Canada is part of Sandoz International GmbH, a global leader in generic pharmaceuticals and biosimilars and a pioneer in the emerging field of prescription digital therapeutics, and a division of Swiss multinational Novartis AG. A leader in its field, Sandoz Canada markets and distributes a broad line of generic, biosimilar, consumer and specialty products.

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  1. Government of Canada. Fact Sheet: Biosimilars. Accessed on January 9, 2019.
  2. IQVIA Drugstore & Hospital Dollars & Compuscript Dec 2018
  3. The Patented Medicines Prices Review Board, Government of Canada. Potential Savings from Biosimilars in Canada poster.

Source: Sandoz Canada