Victoria – The Province is improving the sustainability of the PharmaCare program by expanding the use of biosimilars, which will create opportunities for new drug listings and boost existing coverage for patients.
Bottom line – effective drugs at a lower cost.
An immediate effect of this is the listing of Jardiance, a diabetes drug, as well as the psoriatic arthritis drug Taltz.
Touch base with your Doctor or health care professional for more information. For more information about biosimilars, visit: www2.gov.bc.ca/biosimilars
About 20,400 British Columbians living with either ankylosing spondylitis, diabetes, plaque psoriasis, psoriatic arthritis or rheumatoid arthritis will have six months to work with their health-care team to transition their prescription from the biologic to the biosimilar drug by November 25, 2019. After that time, PharmaCare will no longer provide coverage for the original biologic drug for these indications, except for exceptional cases.
Effective May 27, Jardiance (empagliflozin) is now listed as a limited coverage benefit under PharmaCare. Jardiance is a type of drug known as an SGLT2 inhibitor and has been shown to be an effective treatment option to manage diabetes. Approximately 22,000 patients could stand to benefit from this listing, which will cost roughly $4.1 million this fiscal year and $18.9 million over three years.
The psoriatic arthritis drug Taltz (ixekizumab) is being added as a limited coverage benefit, and coverage criteria will be expanded for existing arthritis drugs to improve patient access. More information about improved coverage criteria is available on the PharmaCare website. These changes will help more British Columbians living with arthritis to find the treatment option that works best for them.
PharmaCare will also be broadening coverage for several drugs used for arthritis (i.e., DMARDs, certolizumab, leflunomide, rituximab, tocilizumab, and tofacitinib). These changes will improve patient access to these important medicines by, for example, reducing coverage pre-requirements and extending the coverage periods.