Sandoz Canada congratulates the Quebec government on implementing a shift towards biosimilars
The shift announced by Quebec will follow a similar approach to policies introduced in British Columbia, Alberta and recently in New Brunswick to transition patients who use a reference biologic to a biosimilar. This will contribute to substantial annual savings that can be reinvested in healthcare and innovative new drugs.
The transition will take place under the supervision of the attending physicians and patients will continue receiving safe and effective treatment. Sandoz Canada has a portfolio of six biosimilars (Omnitrope, Rixymio, Erelzi, Hyrimoz, Ziextenzo and Inclunox).
Sandoz Canada is committed to supporting patients, their healthcare professionals and the Quebec government throughout the transition period with quality biosimilar medicines, medical teams, physician and pharmacist advocacy teams, as well as proven patient support programs.
Boucherville, Quebec, May 18, 2021 – Sandoz Canada, a leader in generic pharmaceuticals and biosimilars, welcomes the Quebec Government’s shift towards biosimilars. According to the government’s announcement, this transition will generate annual savings of more than $100 for the public drug insurance plan and its insured parties. These savings will be reinvested in the healthcare system to improve access to innovative drug therapies, in particular.
Quebec is following the biosimilar transition policies implemented by British Columbia and Alberta in 2019 and, more recently, New Brunswick in 2021. With this announcement, the provinces that have adopted and implemented such a policy now make it possible for almost half of the Canadian population to benefit from it1. Under the Quebec initiative, the province will eventually cover only biosimilar drugs on formularies, with some exceptions, and will transition patients who use the reference biologic medicine to the listed biosimilar by April 12, 2022, under the supervision of their attending physicians.
“At Sandoz Canada, we are pleased to see that Quebec is adopting a switch policy already initiated by other provinces and is moving towards biosimilars. We are ready to support the government, physicians, pharmacists and all healthcare professionals with our six quality biosimilars, while helping to generate significant savings for the healthcare system,” said Michel Robidoux, President and General Manager, Sandoz Canada. “With COVID-19 placing our healthcare system under major budget constraints, biosimilar transition policies are an opportunity to contribute to the sustainability of health system financing and provide funding for new innovations,” he added.
“The government has stated its intention to engage in discussions with key healthcare partners, and Sandoz intends to actively cooperate in these discussions. We want to share our experience with the Ministry in order to provide patients with the highest quality of care. It will also be an opportunity to clarify certain details of the shift towards biosimilars, in particular with the new regulation (section 80.2) coming into effect as part of the Act respecting prescription drug insurance,” said Karine Matteau, Vice President, Bio-Generic Hospital/Physician channel and Head of Biosimilars at Sandoz Canada. “Sandoz is fully committed to supporting patients and their healthcare team during this transition period and beyond through our education initiatives and our patient support programs. We have set up a website for Canadians, BiosimilarsGeneration.ca, which contains a wealth of information and resources related to biosimilars,” she added.
A biosimilar is a biologic medicine that has demonstrated it is highly similar and has no clinically meaningful differences in efficacy and safety compared to the reference biologic already authorized for sale.2 Biosimilars may become commercially available following the expiry of patents and data protection periods of the reference biologic medicine.
The Patented Medicines Pricing Review Board has estimated that private and public drug plans across Canada could save from CA$294 million to CA$1.136 billion by 2021 for established biosimilars3 available in Canada for at least two years, and from CA$222 million to CA$447 million by 20234 for new biosimilars that recently entered the Canadian market.
For further information on biosimilars in Canada, visit BiosimilarsGeneration.ca, which aims to support and educate patients, healthcare professionals and Canadians by providing policy updates from public drug plans, as well as evidence-based information and resources from Canadian, international research and clinical communities, and patient organizations representing Canadians living with chronic diseases who take biologic medicines. In addition, the site also presents the positions of organizations that represent Canadian patients with chronic diseases who take biologic drugs.
Since 2009, Health Canada has authorized 36 biosimilars of reference biologics present on the Canadian market5 and Sandoz Canada has six of them marketed in the country (Omnitrope, Erelzi, Ziextenzo, Riximyo, Hyrimoz and Inclunox).
In the context of biosimilar use, Health Canada “considers switching between authorized products to refer to a change from routine use of one specific product to routine use of another specific product. Patients and healthcare providers can have confidence that biosimilars are effective and safe for each of their authorized indications. No differences are expected in efficacy and safety following a change in routine use between a biosimilar and its reference biologic drug in an authorized indication.”6
About Sandoz Canada
Sandoz International GmbH is a world leader in generics and biosimilars and a division of the Swiss multinational Novartis.
Sandoz Canada is a pioneer, a leader and trusted supplier of quality generics and biosimilars with over 65 million prescriptions per year, based on decades of global experience and capabilities in the development, manufacturing and commercialization of its products. Sandoz launched the first biosimilar in Europe in 2006 and in the Canadian market in 2009.