Insurer perspective on increasing biosimilar uptake in Canada

Biosimilares/General | Posted 06/02/2024 post-comment0 Post your comment

In November 2023, Canada’s Prince Edward Island (PEI) became the 11th Canadian jurisdiction to announce the adoption of biosimilars switching policies [1-10]. This follows the trend in Canada, to try to increase the uptake of biosimilars.

Health Canada V13I20

During Benefits Canada’s 2023 Face to Face Drug Plan Management Forum in December 2023, Neda Nasseri, pharmacist and private payer Product Director at Desjardins Insurance, noted that, ‘Despite the safety and efficacy of biosimilars — and the potential cost savings they offer — uptake among private payers has been low historically and is only starting to gain steam’.

Desjardins Insurance first developed a policy to promote biosimilar use in 2016. Here, when a plan member submitted a claim for a biological, if there was at least one biosimilar on the market, the policy only covered the biosimilar. When switching policies started being adopted by Canadian provinces, Desjardins followed their lead and in the province of Quebec alone, Desjardins said it has saved CAD$10 million.

It was noted that, when a new biosimilar comes to market, Desjardins sends personalized communications to all plan members taking the reference product, ‘The communication sets out clear definitions for relevant terms like reference biological, biosimilar and transition and includes a Health Canada poster on biosimilars’. 

It was also highlighted that plan members are given six months to make the switch and they receive a reminder roughly three months before the deadline. In addition, Desjardins adopts the same exception criteria as the provinces, including allowing reference biologics for paediatric use, during pregnancy and for people who have failed prior therapies. 

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References
1. GaBI Online - Generics and Biosimilars Initiative. Canada’s Prince Edward Island adopts biosimilars switching policy [www.gabionline.net]. Mol, Belgium: Pro Pharma Communications International; [cited 2024 Feb 6]. Available from: www.gabionline.net/biosimilars/general/canada-s-prince-edward-island-adopts-biosimilars-switching-policy
2. GaBI Online - Generics and Biosimilars Initiative. Canada’s British Columbia to switch patients to biosimilars [www.gabionline.net]. Mol, Belgium: Pro Pharma Communications International; [cited 2024 Feb 6]. Available from: www.gabionline.net/policies-legislation/Canada-s-British-Columbia-to-switch-patients-to-biosimilars
3. GaBI Online - Generics and Biosimilars Initiative. Concerns raised as Canada’s Alberta plans to switch patients to biosimilars [www.gabionline.net]. Mol, Belgium: Pro Pharma Communications International; [cited 2024 Feb 6]. Available from: www.gabionline.net/Policies-Legislation/Concerns-raised-as-Canada-s-Alberta-plans-to-switch-patients-to-biosimilars
4. GaBI Online - Generics and Biosimilars Initiative. Concerns over Canada’s New Brunswick transition to biosimilars [www.gabionline.net]. Mol, Belgium: Pro Pharma Communications International; [cited 2024 Feb 6]. Available from: www.gabionline.net/biosimilars/general/concerns-over-canada-s-new-brunswick-transition-to-biosimilars
5. GaBI Online - Generics and Biosimilars Initiative. Quebec announces biosimilar switching policy [www.gabionline.net]. Mol, Belgium: Pro Pharma Communications International; [cited 2024 Feb 6]. Available from: www.gabionline.net/biosimilars/general/quebec-announces-biosimilar-switching-policy
6. GaBI Online - Generics and Biosimilars Initiative. Northwest territories Canada announces biosimilars switching policy [www.gabionline.net]. Mol, Belgium: Pro Pharma Communications International; [cited 2024 Feb 6]. Available from: www.gabionline.net/biosimilars/general/northwest-territories-canada-announces-biosimilars-switching-policy
7. GaBI Online - Generics and Biosimilars Initiative. Nova Scotia Canada implements biosimilar switching policy [www.gabionline.net]. Mol, Belgium: Pro Pharma Communications International; [cited 2024 Feb 6]. Available from: www.gabionline.net/biosimilars/general/nova-scotia-canada-implements-biosimilar-switching-policy
8. GaBI Online - Generics and Biosimilars Initiative. Canada’s Saskatchewan province introduces biosimilars switching policy [www.gabionline.net]. Mol, Belgium: Pro Pharma Communications International; [cited 2024 Feb 6]. Available from: www.gabionline.net/biosimilars/general/canada-s-saskatchewan-province-introduces-biosimilars-switching-policy
9. GaBI Online - Generics and Biosimilars Initiative. Ontario becomes third Canadian province to switch patients to biosimilars [www.gabionline.net]. Mol, Belgium: Pro Pharma Communications International; [cited 2024 Feb 6]. Available from: www.gabionline.net/biosimilars/general/Ontario-becomes-third-Canadian-province-to-switch-patients-to-biosimilars
10. GaBI Online - Generics and Biosimilars Initiative. Biosimilars switching policies for Canada’s Newfoundland and Labrador, and Yukon [www.gabionline.net]. Mol, Belgium: Pro Pharma Communications International; [cited 2024 Feb 6]. Available from: www.gabionline.net/biosimilars/general/biosimilars-switching-policies-for-canada-s-newfoundland-and-labrador-and-yukon

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