Today, Albertan’s Minister of Health, Tyler Shandro announced a new policy regarding biosimilar drugs. The implementation of a forced non-medical switching policy that requires patients established on treatment to switch from a reference biologic drug to a biosimilar insulin without consideration of clinical and contextual circumstances is not aligned with Diabetes Canada’s recommendations. We would like to work with the Alberta government and other stakeholders to determine alternatives to non-medical switching.
“We are aware that rapidly increasing rates of diabetes also impacts costs to the healthcare system, forcing governments to make decisions based on fiscal resources,” says Joan King, government relations director for Diabetes Canada. “However, policies need to be developed and implemented based on best evidence and clinical context, with attention given to those living with a chronic disease so they can achieve positive health outcomes.” Diabetes Canada is calling for a nation-wide diabetes strategy for a unified approach to diabetes prevention and treatment in Canada.
Biosimilars are defined by Health Canada to be a biologic drug that is highly similar to a biologic drug that was already authorized for sale.
Diabetes Canada recently released a policy position to help guide governments and policymakers on this important issue. Two of the recommendations from the list provided to governments and private insurers are:
- Do not implement forced non-medical switching policies that require patients established on treatment to switch from a reference biologic drug to a biosimilar insulin without consideration of clinical and contextual circumstances.
- Provide sufficient information and support to patients and request informed consent to switch from a biologic drug to a biosimilar insulin.
Additionally, Diabetes Canada recommends those living with diabetes and their provider to:
- Consider biosimilar insulins when initiating treatment with insulin.
- Be informed of all relevant information about the use of biosimilar insulin and have an informed discussion between patient and health care provider.
- In the absence of clinical or contextual circumstances that compromise a patient’s health, and with discussion and consent, consider switching to a biosimilar insulin for patients with enough monitoring to ensure safety and effectiveness.
A complete listing of recommendations can be found here.
Author: Sherry Calder
Category Tags: Advocacy & Policy;