BC Mandatory Switching to Biosimilar

BC PharmaCare announced last month the launch of a new Biosimilars Initiative. The program took effect on May 27, 2019 and will require patients using several biologic drugs to switch to biosimilar versions of the drugs before the end of the year.

See the following pdf to learn more.




BC announces biosimilar initiative*

BC PharmaCare announced last month the launch of a new Biosimilars Initiative. The program took effect on May 27, 2019 and will require patients using several biologic drugs to switch to biosimilar versions of the drugs before the end of the year.

Biologics are drugs that are engineered using living organisms like yeast and bacteria. The first version of a biologic developed is also known as the “originator” drug. Biosimilars are highly similar to the originator drug they are based on and have been shown to have no clinically meaningful differences in safety or efficacy.

BC PharmaCare will initially cover both the originator and biosimilar versions of the affected drugs as patients start the switching process. After November 25, 2019, coverage for the originator drugs will only be available on an exceptional basis.

The following table outlines the affected originator drugs, their biosimilars and the conditions affected by the program.

DrugOriginatorBiosimilarIndications Affected
etanercept
Enbrel ®Brenzys ®Ankylosing Spondylitis Rheumatoid Arthritis
Erelzi ™Ankylosing Spondylitis Psoriatic Arthritis Rheumatoid Arthritis
infliximabRemicade ®Inflectra ®
Renflexis ®
Ankylosing Spondylitis Plaque Psoriasis Psoriatic Arthritis Rheumatoid Arthritis
insulin glargine
Lantus ®Basaglar ™Diabetes (Type 1 and 2)



Health Risk Services will be monitoring this policy change in order to Employer and their Employees informed of any impact on their private drug plans.

For more information about the Biosimilars Initiative, consult the BC Health website.

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