Patients to begin the switch to newer, cheaper drugs
Drugs in prescription bottle. (Sharon Vanhouwe, mycowichanvalleynow.com staff)
B.C. is following evidence-based results from a number of international jurisdictions and will be switching patients from biologics to biosimilar drugs.
Adrian Dix, Minister of Health says bioengineered drugs, known as biologics, are the single biggest expense for public drug plans and their costs continue to climb.
Cheryl Koehn, president of Arthritis Consumer Experts and a person living with rheumatoid arthritis said the move was a thoughtful one and she’s happy to see it happen.
“Most patients like me in British Columbia who live with an autoimmune form of arthritis have done this dozens of times. We actually do this transitioning with older meds when less expensive generic medicine is available from the day we are diagnosed and on through our journey with the disease, so this is not an uncommon occurrence.”
In 2018, B.C. spent 125 million dollars on Lantus, Enbrel, and Remicade, three biologic drugs that treat chronic conditions such as diabetes, arthritis and Crohn’s disease.