British Columbia Expands Biosimilar Initiative to Rapid-Acting Insulins

On December 1, 2021 the government of British Columbia announced that it is further expanding its biosimilar initiative.  The statement reported that as of November 30, 2021 an estimated 30,000 patients on the rapid-acting insulin lispro (Humalog) and insulin aspart (NovoRapid) would have six months to transition to the respective biosimilars, Admelog and Trurapi, or risk losing their PharmaCare coverage.  The government also reported that for new patients, after December 15, 2021, PharmaCare will no longer cover the originator biologics and will only cover the biosimilars.  The government of Alberta has similarly imposed switching deadlines of February 1, 2021 for Humalog to Admelog, and April 1, 2022 for NovoRapid to Trurapi.

The statement also provided that as of November 30, 2021, PharmaCare would cover all listed rapid-acting insulins at the retail price, thus eliminating out-of-pocket costs that patients previously had to pay.

The British Columbia biosimilars initiative was launched in 2019 with the goal of improving health care by transitioning patients from originator biologics to biosimilars and reinvesting the savings to expand drug coverage.  We have previously reported on the expanded use of biosimilars under this initiative in British Columbia and Alberta.