Quebec adds biosimilar etanercept Erelzi to public drug plan Posted 09/02/2018

In August 2017, Sandoz, the generics division of Novartis, announced that its etanercept biosimilar, Erelzi, was now available in Canada [1], after the company received Health Canada approval for the biosimilar in April 2017. Quebec is now the most recent Canadian province to add Erelzi to its public drug plan for the treatment of multiple inflammatory diseases.

The Quebec provincial listing has been in effect since 1 February 2018. The announcement follows the provincial listing in Ontario, which was effective on 21 December 2017 and which followed the conclusion of an agreement between the pan-Canadian Pharmaceutical Alliance (pCPA) and Sandoz Canada, allowing member provincial, territorial and federal drug plans to fund this therapy for patients. Public access to Erelzi is also available in British Columbia and Prince Edward Island, after they became the first provinces to add Erelzi to their public drug plans in November 2017.

Etanercept is the only biosimilar to be reimbursed for the treatment of polyarticular juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) in patients aged 4 to 17. JIA is a condition that affects about three out of 1,000 children and teenagers in Canada. Erelzi is also reimbursed under specific criteria for the treatment of moderately to severely active rheumatoid arthritis (RA) in adults, and for reducing signs and symptoms of active ankylosing spondylitis (AS).

Canada’s drug regulator, Health Canada, has also approved another etanercept biosimilar. Merck Canada’s Brenzys (etanercept) was the first etanercept biosimilar to be approved by the agency back in August 2016 [2]. Brenzys, however, is only approved for AS and RA, and not for juvenile idiopathic arthritis.

Canada’s Patented Medicine Prices Review Board has recently estimated that the potential cost savings from biosimilars could range from CA$332 million to CA$1.81 billion.

Related articles
EC approval for etanercept biosimilar Erelzi

FDA approves biosimilar etanercept Erelzi

1. GaBI Online - Generics and Biosimilars Initiative. Second etanercept biosimilar approved in Canada []. Mol, Belgium: Pro Pharma Communications International; [cited 2018 Feb 9]. Available from:
2. GaBI Online - Generics and Biosimilars Initiative. Biosimilars approved in Canada []. Mol, Belgium: Pro Pharma Communications International; [cited 2018 Feb 9]. Available from:

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Source: Sandoz Canada

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