Nova Scotia Announces Shift to Biosimilar Drugs

On February 4, 2022, Nova Scotia announced that as part of the Nova Scotia biosimilar initiative, Nova Scotians enrolled in Pharmacare programs will have 12 months (until February 3, 2023) to work with their healthcare providers to switch from originator biologics to the biosimilar version of their drug.  Where patients cannot transition to a biosimilar, the prescriber can request an exemption to continue coverage of the existing product.  According to the announcement, the switch to biosimilars will initially save Nova Scotia about $13 million per year, and more once additional biosimilars become available, with the cost savings reinvested in healthcare.  The announcement further indicated that drugs that “specific originator drugs that will be switched are Humira, Enbrel, Remicade, Lantus, Humalog, NovoRapid and Rituxan.”

Other Canadian jurisdictions that have instituted such biosimilar initiatives are British Columbia, Alberta, New Brunswick, Quebec and the Northwest Territories.