Living your best life with arthritis.

Call for patient input on biosimilar etanercept (Sandoz) for RA, AS, and pJIA

Stickman with megaphone calling for patient inputDo you have rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis or polyarticular juvenile idiopathic arthritis or care for someone who does? We need your valuable input.

Health Canada defines biosimilars (sometimes referred to as subsequent entry biologics or SEBs) as biologic medicines that are similar to, and would enter the market after, an approved originator biologic (such as Enbrel®).

Unlike the more common small-molecule drugs, biologics generally exhibit high molecular complexity, and are sensitive to changes in manufacturing practices. Biosimilars are not identical to their originator products because their chemical characteristics cannot be precisely duplicated during the manufacturing process. Therefore, biosimilars may have unique efficacy, immunogenicity, and safety profiles that are different from their originator.

The Common Drug Review (CDR) is currently welcoming patients and their caregivers to provide input to patient organizations on the manufacturer’s submission for biosimilar etanercept for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis and polyarticular juvenile idiopathic arthritis. The originator biologic, or reference product, is etanercept (Enbrel®).

The CDR is part of the Canadian Agency for Drugs and Technologies in Health (CADTH). The CDR conducts objective, rigorous reviews of the clinical and cost effectiveness of drugs, and provides formulary listing recommendations to the publicly funded drug plans in Canada (except Quebec).

To help them make their recommendations, the CDR accepts input from patient organizations and groups, like Arthritis Consumer Experts (ACE). Because patient input is vitally important to government decision-making about medications, we would like to gather your views and share them with the CDR.

These are the questions they are asking:

  1. What are the disease-related symptoms and problems that impact the patients’ day-to-day life and quality of life? For example, what aspects of their disease are more important to control, how does the disease affect day-to-day life, and are there any activities that the patient is not able to do as a result of the disease?
  2. How well are patients managing their disease with currently available treatments? Examples of the types of information to be included in the answer are:
    • Are patients using or have they ever used the originator (Enbrel®) for the treatment of their disease?
    • What therapy are patients using for the treatment of their disease?
    • How effective are current treatments in controlling the common aspects of the disease?
    • Are there needs, experienced by some or many patients, which are not being met by the current treatments? What are these needs?
    • Do current treatments have adverse effects that are more difficult to tolerate than others? What are they?
    • Do patients have difficulty accessing current treatments because of costs, such as costs related to travel and drug administration costs?
    • When offered, how do the patient assistance or support programs impact on the accessibility and effectiveness of the treatment?
  3. How does the disease affect caregivers?
    • What challenges do family and friends who support a patient to manage the disease face?
    • What impact does the treatment have on the caregiver’s daily life, such as emotional/psychological effects, fatigue, stress, and physical challenges?
  4. What are patients’ expectations for the biosimilar?
    • What are the perceived advantages or disadvantages of the biosimilar?
    • What are the aspects of the patients’ disease that it is hoped will be addressed?

If you live with rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis or polyarticular juvenile idiopathic arthritis or care for someone with the disease, please send us your input by Monday, Feburary 20, 2017, so that we may make a submission by the February 24 deadline. Your input will be anonymous.

Please contact us at feedback@jointhealth.org to provide your input or arrange for a phone interview at 604-974-1366.