Potential cost implications of mandatory non‐medical switching policies for biologics for rheumatic conditions and inflammatory bowel disease in Canada

Biologic drugs are important treatment options for a number of diseases, including rheumatic conditions and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), although their substantial cost has placed a strain on the healthcare system. Biosimilars are lower cost alternatives to innovator biologic drugs that have no clinically meaningful difference in efficacy or safety. Despite this, their uptake in Canada is low.

In 2019, two Canadian provinces announced policies mandating non-medical switching to biosimilars among patients with rheumatic conditions and IBD in an attempt to reduce their costs by increasing biosimilar uptake. The national impact of similar reimbursement policies across Canada is currently unknown. Therefore, we sought to determine the uptake of biosimilars for infliximab, etanercept, and adalimumab, three medications used to treat these conditions, across Canada, and to estimate the cost implications of mandatory non-medical switching policies across the country.

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