Concerns over Canada’s New Brunswick transition to biosimilars

Biosimilars/General | Posted 26/11/2021 post-comment0 Post your comment

Several biological medications whose patents have expired will no longer be covered under provincial drug plans of New Brunswick, Canada as of 30 November 2021. These are to be replaced by cheaper biosimilar versions; however, inflammatory disease associations have expressed concerns about the rapid transition.


The originator medications to be replaced by approved biosimilars include many treatments for inflammatory diseases such as Humira, Enbrel, Remicade, Lantus, Humalog, Rituxan and Copaxone. These are used to treat plaque psoriasis, psoriatic arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, polyarticular juvenile idiopathic arthritis, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, and several other conditions. It is projected that, with this transition, the New Brunswick health department could save CA$10 million a year on total drug plan costs of about CA$220 million.

Despite the province’s health authority’s April 2021 decision to transition to biosimilars, the Canadian Association of Gastroenterology and Crohn’s and Colitis Canada do not recommend non-medical switching for patients who are stable on a biological treatment [1]. In early November 2021, Crohn’s and Colitis Canada have made calls to slow the transition in New Brunswick. Dr Eric Benchimol, Chair of Crohn's and Colitis Canada's scientific and medical advisory council, noted that studies in Crohn's and colitis patients are indicating that there may be an increased chance of flaring up after switching from a biological to a biosimilar. The association is calling for a slower and more considered transition to biosimilars.

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The new section of the ‘Latin American Forum’ on GaBI has been launched. The objective of this new section is to provide you with all the latest news and updates on developments of generic and biosimilar medicines in Latin America in Spanish.

View last week’s headline article: Regulación del registro de medicamentos biológicos en América Latina

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Se ha lanzado la nueva sección del ‘Foro Latinoamericano’ sobre GaBI. El objetivo de esta nueva sección es brindarle las últimas noticias y actualizaciones sobre desarrollos de medicamentos genéricos y biosimilares en América Latina en español.

Vea el artículo principal de la semana pasada: Regulación del registro de medicamentos biológicos en América Latina

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Regístrese para recibir el boletín informativo GaBI Foro Latinoamericano. Informe a colegas y amigos sobre esta nueva iniciativa. 


1. GaBI Online - Generics and Biosimilars Initiative. Canada’s biosimilar substitution policy effects on competition and patient safety []. Mol, Belgium: Pro Pharma Communications International; [cited 2021 Nov 26]. Available from:

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