Original and Similar Biologic Drugs: Low Cost, Individual Choice, or Both?
FORMAT: Panel Debate with Discussion
Because biosimilar medicines are “highly similar” to the original biologic in safety and effectiveness and introduced at lower prices, Canadian drug plans could save money by listing only the “lowest cost” biosimilar and switching patients to the lowest cost alternative.
Biosimilars are not “generic” medicines and are not approved as interchangeable with the original. Moreover, biosimilars to the same original are not approved as similar to each other. Therefore, a biosimilar may not work exactly the same as the original or another biosimilar. Canadian drug plans should allow physicians and patients to access the original or similar biologic that is best for the patient, so long as the cost to the drug plan is similar.
National Pharmacare should assure that clinicians and patients are allowed to exercise informed choice about the medicine that is best suited to their individual needs. Moreover, a policy of mandatory switch based on price alone puts patients at risk of needing to switch biologics on a regular basis.
This is one of six webinars in a National Pharmacare Debate series hosted by CORD.
For the complete list of webinars in this series, click here.