On May 15th, ASBM Executive Director Michael Reilly participated in a webinar entitled Impact of Emerging Policies on the Vision of Older Canadians hosted by the International Federation on Ageing (IFA). 

As part of the celebration of the Vision Health Month, this webinar was executed to raise awareness on the importance of eye health, prevention of vision loss, and work to inform policies and practices underpinned with the principles of safe, effective and appropriate treatment, determined by the treating physicians in consultation with their patients.

A key policy issue discussed during the webinar was how Canadian provinces have been forcibly switching patients to biosimilars, and how this practice might affect patients on ophthalmic biologics. Mr. Reilly shared survey results from ASBM and IFA’s recent survey of 41 Canadian ophthalmologists regarding biosimilar substitution.

The survey revealed that 81% were not comfortable with a third party such as a government switching a patient’s medicine for non-medical reasons such as cost, as would occur under a recently-announced Ontario plan. 91% considered the ability to prevent a forced switch by a public or private payer very important or critical.

Seventy-eight percent of respondents said their patients would be best served by a European-style scenario where multiple products including innovator and biosimilars are reimbursed, with biosimilars encouraged for new patients but no automatic substitution.

Only 15% preferred a system similar to that of Canadian provinces like British Columbia, Alberta, and Ontario where only government-chosen biosimilars are reimbursed, new patients must be prescribed these products, and current patients are forced to switch.

View the webinar here.