Sandoz Canada launched a digital campaign to provide fact-based materials on biosimilars in hopes of spreading awareness on the benefits of biosimilars for physicians and patients.
Sandoz Canada launched The Biosimilars Generation, an online campaign that provides fact-based information about biosimilar medicines in Canada for patients and physicians to access.
Sandoz created the resource to increase awareness for Canadians on the benefits, safety, efficacy, and savings opportunities biosimilar drugs can provide.
“Biologic medicines have transformed the treatment of many complex diseases; however, the cost of these medicines is also putting financial strain on our healthcare system, now even under more pressure due to the coronavirus pandemic. We are committed to increasing patient access to biosimilar medicines that can help alleviate this budget pressure,” said Michel Robidoux, president and general manager of Sandoz Canada.
The Biosimilars Generation serves as a directory where visitors can learn about all things biosimilars and can search for information on biosimilar programs and formularies by province.
This effort comes in response to an increasing number of Canadian provinces beginning to implement switching programs for biosimilars. Biosimilar transition programs have already seen success in British Columbia and Alberta, with 4 other provinces including Ontario and Manitoba looking to implement their own.
“There is an increasing demand for credible, fact-based information from Canadians looking to learn more about the safety, efficacy and value of biosimilar medicines….The Biosimilars Generation… shows that we are all in it together, to be informed, empowered and supported,” Karine Matteau, vice president of hospitals and physicians channel and head of biopharmaceuticals at Sandoz Canada, said in a statement.
An Expert’s Reaction
“I was pretty impressed about how generic it was because it’s really hard to tell that they were talking about Sandoz except that, obviously, Sandoz came out with it,” said Carter Thorne, MD, an assistant professor at the University of Toronto and chief of the Division of Rheumatology and director of The Arthritis Program at Southlake Regional health Centre in Newmarket, Ontario, in an interview with The Center for Biosimilars®.
Thorne added that he thought the site showed the long-term commitment that Sandoz has for the development and marketing of biosimilar products.
“If I was to send a patient that indicated an interest in looking at a very reliable looking or truthful looking site, I’d send them to [The Biosimilar Generation]. The stuff I read was all very straightforward. It was all things I believed or understood,” said Thorne.
Thorne also praised Sandoz’ attention to providing information on the different regulatory systems regarding each province, which is helpful as misconceptions about Canada’s health care system can cause confusion for the public.
“It is a pretty balanced thing, and I thought if I had to criticize, perhaps I’d say it was a bit too high end in terms of information," he noted. "It wasn’t the grade 6 or grade 8 education that [companies] usually think about for tools that are made for the population. But having said that, I thought it was really nicely done and nicely laid out.”
Canada’s Fight for Biosimilar Adoption
Canada, similar to the United States, has been slow to embrace biosimilars despite evidence demonstrating that approved biosimilars are as safe and effective as their reference products.
In March 2020, Canadian investigators concluded that more systematic efforts needed to be taken to achieve widespread adoption of biosimilars in clinical practice as poor adoption rates without concurrent education and clear understanding of biosimilars can exist anywhere where biosimilars are available.
In 2019, the pan-Canadian Pharmaceutical Alliance (pCPA) engaged the Canadian Agency for Drugs and Technologies in Health (CADTH) to lead a multiphase stakeholder consultation process that aimed to ensure stakeholders perspectives about biosimilars could be captured and conveyed to policymakers and encourage biosimilar uptake.
In 2017, another stakeholder initiative took place between pCPA and Cancer Care Ontario to ensure the implementation and use of therapeutic oncology biosimilars were appropriate and cost-effective across Canada.
The pCPA also published a document in 2018 with the goal of developing a clear and consistent pan-Canadian approach to across Canada for reference products and biosimilars.