BOUCHERVILLE, Quebec, Dec. 22, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Sandoz Canada, a global leader in generic pharmaceuticals and biosimilars, welcomes the Ontario Government introduction of biosimilars switch policy to expand the use of biosimilars available on the market and generate significant cost savings to the province healthcare system.
Biosimilars are not new. There is extensive use of biosimilars in Canada including 50 biosimilars already approved for use in the Canadian market to date. Health Canada is clear that physician-supervised switching is a safe and efficacious practice, and the safety and efficacy of switching patients to biosimilars is also well established internationally and supported by numerous studies.
"Biosimilar switch policies are an important step towards increasing patient access to quality and potentially life-enhancing biosimilar medicines they need while realizing significant health system cost savings. We support the promotion of wider adoption of biosimilars to reinvest savings into healthcare resources and enable more patients to experience the benefits of biologic treatment," said Michel Robidoux, President and General Manager at Sandoz Canada and Chair of Biosimilars Canada.
A biosimilars switching policy has already been successfully implemented in BC, Alberta, Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Saskatchewan, the Northwest Territories and now in Ontario. In Quebec, the Health Minister Christian Dubé recently stated his estimation that switching to biosimilars had saved his province around $140 million, which is $40 million more than originally estimated. At a time of acute pressure on our health-care system, this biosimilars switching policy will support a critical industry that employs thousands of Ontario workers and bring important savings to taxpayers.
According to Jim Keon, President of Biosimilars Canada, "A biosimilar switching policy will save the Ontario government $3 million per week ? that's over $147 million per year ? all while providing Ontario patients with reliable prescription medicine and helping support Ontario's domestic biologics industry."1
"We are reassured by Ontario's announced 9 months switching timeline. We recognize patients will need support and reassurance, and that a proper transition period to a biosimilar requires the necessary investment of time from healthcare professionals. Sandoz is fully committed to supporting patients and their healthcare team through this transition and beyond with education programs, and through our experienced, comprehensive patient support programs," added Karine Matteau, Vice President, Customer Engagement at Sandoz Canada.
Sandoz Canada currently has 6 biosimilars in Canada (Omitrope, Erelzi, Riximyo, Hyrimoz, Ziextenzo and Inclunox). They are all leading brands in Canada. Above all, Sandoz Canada has one of the leading Biosimilar Patient Support Program in Canada with over 20,000 patients.
As patents and data protection expire for original-brand medicines, other manufacturers may produce new versions of the biologic medicines called biosimilars. To receive Health Canada approval, a biosimilar must demonstrate it is highly similar and has no clinically meaningful differences in efficacy and safety compared to an original-brand ("reference") biologic. For more information on the safety and efficacy of biosimilars and how they compare to their respective reference biologics, please read Health Canada's factsheet on biosimilars.2
For further information on biosimilars in Canada, visit BiosimilarsGeneration.ca, which aims to support and educate patients, healthcare professionals and Canadian.
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."3
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.
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1 "Make the switch": Biosimilars Canada pitches Ontario on savings, benefits of switching to biosimilars
2 Health Canada Biosimilars Fact Sheet: Biosimilars Explained
3 Health Canada Fact Sheet on Biosimilars: Switching
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