JULY 2016 – More than 140 supporters of the Canadian Foundation for Pharmacy (CFP) pondered the profound impact of biologic pharmaceuticals before enjoying the Foundation’s 21st annual Golf Charity Tournament in May. The event contributed more than $75,000 toward research in pharmacy innovation, and CFP is especially grateful to this year’s Platinum sponsors, Apotex and TEVA.
Beverley Herczegh and Ben Parry, directors at Pangaea Consultants, delivered an insightful overview of the growing availability of biologics and subsequent-entry biologics (SEBs, also known as biosimilars) in Canada. Manufacturers, distributors, regulators, healthcare professionals and payers are addressing numerous challenges unique to SEBs, including:
- therapeutic interchangeability, since SEBs are similar but can never be identical to originator biologics;
- the extrapolation of indications for SEBs; and
- a unique naming standard for SEBs, since they currently use the same international non-proprietary name as originator biologics.
Herczegh also reviewed the efforts of public and private payers to manage the costs of these medications. In addition to product listing agreements, Canada’s largest insurance carriers have partnered with pharmaceutical distributors and pharmacy retailers to create specialty preferred provider pharmacy networks (PPNs). Within pharmacy, the PPNs have stirred considerable debate around patients’ freedom of choice—particularly among pharmacies who would like to join the PPNs and find they cannot do so. “In some jurisdictions outside Canada, PPNs are required to permit participation of any willing provider, that is, any pharmacy provider that will accept the terms of the PPN. It may take such legislation here to level the playing field,” noted Herczegh. For more information, contact Bev Herczegh or Ben Parry.