The Canadian Rheumatology Association has released an updated position statement on biosimilars.
Previously known as Subsequent Entry Biologics (SEBs), biosimilars are drugs demonstrated to be highly similar to a biologic drug that is already authorized for sale (known as the reference biologic drug). It is acknowledged that evidence for the risk/benefit ratio of the use of biosimilars in the management of rheumatic diseases is rapidly accruing. The CRA encourages rheumatologists to provide the best care for individual patients and be fiscally responsible for the benefit of society as a whole. Rheumatologists should consider choosing the most cost-effective product when there is a choice available between an originator biologic and a biosimilar and must be mindful of cost savings. It is imperative that any substitution or transition/change to an approved biosimilar should result in no additional cost to the patient. The CRA recognizes the administrative challenges that patients may experience in accessing a biologic agent and therefore strongly encourages industry to provide and/or maintain patient support programs.