People in B.C. now have access to three new biosimilars for the anti-clotting drug enoxaparin.
On March 22, 2022, Redesca, Noromby and Inclunox were added to the list of enoxaparin biosimilars covered by PharmaCare. Enoxaparin is a blood thinner that helps prevent and treat blood clots.
“Our government’s biosimilars program continues to help people in B.C. save money by accessing more treatment options that are less expensive than the originator drug and are just as effective,” said Adrian Dix, Minister of Health. “The new biosimilars we are announcing will be of great assistance to those who develop blood clots, which can be deadly.”
The originator enoxaparin, Lovenox, is currently a limited-coverage drug used in three primary ways: for preventing venous thromboembolism (VTE); as a bridge to oral blood thinners; and as a replacement to oral blood thinners when they fail in treating non-cancer-related VTEs.
As of March 22, 2022, standard PharmaCare approvals for enoxaparin will be for the eligible biosimilars only. Lovenox will no longer be covered for new approvals. Because enoxaparin is usually used for less than six months, patients with a current Lovenox prescription will not have to switch to a biosimilar; they can continue with the same prescriptions until the end of their coverage.
As a result of savings from the introduction of enoxaparin biosimilars, PharmaCare is also changing how it provides coverage for treating cancer-associated thrombosis, a leading cause of death for cancer patients. Cancer patients will now be able to access dalteparin, enoxaparin, and tinzaparin without needing to first have a trial of the blood thinner warfarin.
Health Canada confirms that patients and health-care providers can have confidence that biosimilars are effective and safe for each of their authorized indications.
Exceptions may be granted for new patients whose doctors determine they are medically unable to take the biosimilars. Exceptional coverage requests are reviewed by PharmaCare’s Special Authority branch on a case-by-case basis.
Patients and health-care providers with questions about transitioning to a biosimilar can email Biosimilars.Initiative@gov.bc.ca or call 1 844 915-5005, Monday to Friday, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
In January 2019, B.C. made a $105-million investment over three years to reduce and/or eliminate deductibles and co-payments for lower-income British Columbians. The Province also had a leading role in the national Generics 2.0 agreement to lower costs of the most commonly prescribed drugs, and participates in the pan-Canadian Pharmaceutical Alliance to negotiate for lower drug costs for all Canadians.