A Canadian gastro-enterologist’s view on advising on biosimilars

Biosimilares/General | Posted 28/10/2022 post-comment0 Post your comment

Acting as a ‘trusted advisor’ when answering questions about biological and biosimilar products is important for Canadian physician, Dr Dustin Loomes reported in a recent article.

IBD 3

As a gastroenterologist and director of the Vancouver Island IBD (Inflammatory Bowel Disease), Dr Loomes also noted, ‘I like the patient to be making the decisions. Then I can provide the most non-biased information to them as possible, and then they can make the choice that's best for them. I really like that model of providing care’.

Canada saw the first biosimilar product enter the market in 2009 [1]. The number of biosimilar products available has steadily increased since this date. As of June 2022, the number of products approved in Canada was up to 50 [2, 3]. However, it is also reported that their uptake has not been as successful as in other regions of the world, such as Europe [1].

Five facts about biosimilars are key to any discussion on biosimilars and switching:

  1. Biosimilars are manufactured to the same regulatory standards as other biological drugs
  2. Health Canada authorizes biosimilars for sale after conducting a scientific evaluation
  3. Health Canada evaluates whether the evidence shows that the biosimilar and reference biological are highly similar
  4. This information must show that there are no clinically meaningful differences in efficacy and safety between the reference and the originator drug
  5. Health Canada monitors the safety of a biosimilar after it has been authorized.

Dr Loomes gave an example of how he would explain what a biological product is, ‘A biologic is really just a term for a medication that comes from a living organism or its cells, and there are many types of biologic medications’.

As a gastroenterologist, Dr Loomes has many patients suffering from inflammatory conditions and he noted, ‘I also tell patients that targeted therapies are developed by directly targeting molecules that are believed be involved in inflammatory processes in the body’.

He also highlighted a marked change in the attitudes of patients since the advent of biosimilars in Canada. He noted that now, patients are more familiar and comfortable with biosimilars and anxiety about their use is reduced meaning he has fewer detailed discussions about biosimilars with patients. Overall, patients are more confident in the quality, efficacy and safety of biosimilars, knowing that they have been adequately assessed by regulatory bodies prior to reaching the market.

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LATIN AMERICAN FORUM

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References
1. GaBI Online - Generics and Biosimilars Initiative. Trends in biological drugs in Canada [www.gabionline.net]. Mol, Belgium: Pro Pharma Communications International; [cited 2022 Oct 28]. Available from: www.gabionline.net/reports/Trends-in-biological-drugs-in-Canada
2. GaBI Online - Generics and Biosimilars Initiative. Biosimilars approved in Canada [www.gabionline.net]. Mol, Belgium: Pro Pharma Communications International; [cited 2022 Oct 28]. Available from: www.gabionline.net/biosimilars/general/biosimilars-approved-in-canada
3. GaBI Online - Generics and Biosimilars Initiative. Canada approves five biosimilars in last seven months [www.gabionline.net]. Mol, Belgium: Pro Pharma Communications International; [cited 2022 Oct 28]. Available from: www.gabionline.net/biosimilars/news/canada-approves-five-biosimilars-in-last-seven-months

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Source: Amgen, Health Canada

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