Over the last few years CBCN has been working to educate patients, physicians and the broader cancer advocacy community about biosimilar therapies. From our curated digital magazine on biosimilars to our recently released white paper Breast Cancer & Biosimilars: Recommendations on Use, Implementation and Patient Communications-CBCN is committed to raising awareness about the use of biosimilar therapies for treating breast cancer.
We talked a lot on this blog last year about biosimilars; what they are and why it’s important to know about them. With the entry of biosimilars in the breast cancer treatment landscape due later this year, there are still questions and discussions about how it will affect current and future breast cancer patients. To help understand these questions and perspectives, we decided it was important to bring together those people who are impacted the most: patients and physicians.
Biosimilar therapies have already been in use in Canada for a few years, mostly in the chronic disease and supportive care settings. But soon they will be used for treating cancer as well. There isn’t a lot of information about these new oncology biosimilars and it’s important that breast cancer patients are aware of how their treatment plans may be impacted by these new therapies. We explore some of the emerging biosimilar therapies that will be used to treat cancer patients soon.
We are all familiar with generics. The exact copy of the known chemical formula used in the original medicine is what constitutes the generic form of any medicine. There are multiple reasons why generics are able to be mass produced at a lower cost. An important step includes manufacturers of generics having to provide proof that their version is an exact copy of the chemical formula of the original medicine and that when used in healthy individuals, the metabolism remains very similar to the original compound. This shortened pathway of getting approved from Health Canada or a similar regulatory agency ensures less economic burden to manufacturers and provides the obvious advantage of a significantly lower price, as well as improved accessibility for patients.
As a breast cancer survivor and board member of CBCN, I am very interested in how biosimilars will be used in breast cancer treatment in Canada. While not commonly understood today, biosimilars will soon be a household discussion among breast cancer patients. As patients, it is important for us to know how biosimilars will be used to treat cancer, especially if they are going to be used as effective alternatives to brand name treatments. Here are some of the points that I think are important for us, as patients, to consider.
Biosimilar drugs will soon be entering the breast cancer treatment landscape and are already available for support medications. With these emerging treatment options, it’s important to know more about them so you can make informed decisions about your treatment plan.