Biosimilars Canada Reappoints Robidoux as Chair

Robidoux's reelection comes as biosimilars get a lift from automatic switching policies in British Columbia and Alberta.

Biosimilars Canada, a national trade association representing biosimilar developers and other industry stakeholders, has reelected Michel Robidoux, the president and general manager of Sandoz Canada, to serve as chair of the Biosimilars Canada board.

In a statement announcing his reappointment, Robidoux praised the biosimilar switching policies implemented by British Columbia and Alberta in 2019. These policies require that patients with chronic conditions be transitioned to certain biosimilars under the oversight of their physician. The programs have achieved savings that proponents have said could be reinvested in health care to broaden access not only to biologics but also other therapies and services.

“Biosimilar medicines have an important role in supporting health care sustainability and patient care,” Robidoux said. “The implementation of biosimilar switching policies could save the Canadian health care system hundreds of millions of dollars.” Citing a 2020 report by the Ontario Drug Policy Research Network, the statement said that annual savings of $425.6 million for provincial drug plans is possible in Canada by switching patients from 3 of the top-selling reference biologics: Humira (adalimumab), Enbrel (etanercept), and Remicade (infliximab). “A similar magnitude of savings would be available for employer-sponsored benefit plans,” it said.

Biosimilars Canada is affiliated with the European trade group International Generic and Biosimilar Medicines Association and is a division of the Canadian Generic Pharmaceutical Association. The group also reelected Mike Woolcock to serve as vice chair of the board. Woolcock is a senior vice president at Apobiologix. Other companies represented by Biosimilars Canada include Auropharma, Fresenius Kabi, Pharmascience, Taro, Teva, and Viatris.

For an update on biosimilar savings in British Columbia from the perspective of Pacific Blue Cross, click here.

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