On October 5th, ASBM Executive Director Michael Reilly and Steering Committee member Andrew Spiegel of the Global Colon Cancer Association, met with Health Alberta regulators to offer ASBM’s perspectives on Canadian biosimilar policy. Reilly and Spiegel shared data from ASBM’s survey of Canadian prescribers. ASBM counts 12 Canadian patient groups among its membership, and ASBM member IAPO represents 10 Canadian member groups. 


The primary purpose of the meeting was to discuss Alberta’s consideration of the automatic switching of naive patients to the biosimilar Inflectra for cost, rather than medical reasons. Unlike chemical generics, biosimilars are not identical to their reference products; thus, Non-Medical Switching is of great concern to patients treated with biologics.   


ASBM also met with Drew Barnes, a Member of the Legislative Assembly, to discuss these concerns. MLA Barnes is Chief Opposition Health Critic in the Alberta Legislature.


The following day, October 6th, Mr. Reilly and Mr. Speigel participated in a biosimilars forum held by Canada’s Institute for Health Economics, where Mr. Reilly spoke at a breakout session. While critical of provincial NMS policies, Mr. Reilly praised Canada’s overall record on biosimilars. “Health Canada has been very patient-centric when approving biosimilars, particularly in its caution regarding indication extrapolation, but also in its support for the WHO’s distinct naming plan and its biosimilar labeling guidance, which leads the world in its transparency requirements, ” said Reilly.


Read more about the IHE forum here.