CARE™ Reports

CARE™ National Congress 2021 Report

Access to Innovation


05 Aug 2021


The 5th Annual CARE™ National Congress is an annual meeting bringing together representatives from the various CARE™ faculties, government and public and private payers to discuss biosimilar adoption and access to innovation framed from a Canadian
perspective and treatment reality.

Congress Objectives

Provide a platform to discuss perspectives/policies on biosimilars and access to (affordable) innovation.

Biosimilars are a reality in the Canadian landscape, we (still) need to consider their impact and use.

Understand each others roles/challenges to support (optimal) Health Care in Canada.

Innovation improves patient outcomes, how do we incorporate/afford innovative therapies and ensure equitable access to health care for all Canadians.

This 5th annual Congress was virtual with live discussion between participants. The program was chaired by Dr. John Kuruvilla, (CARE™ Hematology steering faculty chair) and Dr. Philip Baer, (CARE™ Rheumatology steering faculty chair).

A list of faculty and panelists follow.

For background on CARE™, please visit the “About” page.

CARE National Congress 2021 Participants
CARE™ Faculty Specialists

Dr. Philip Baer – CARE™ Rheumatology, Ontario Medical Association
Dr. John Kuruvilla – CARE™ Hematology/Oncology, Princess Margaret Cancer Centre
Dr. John Marshall – CARE™ Gastroenterology, McMaster University
Dr. Brandon Sheffield – CARE™ Pathology, William Osler Health System
Dr. Alan So – CARE™ Urology, University of British Columbia

Government, Public and Private Payers

Denis Arsenault – Health Canada (HC)
Tijana Fazlagic – PharmD, BSP, M.Sc. (Pharm), BC Ministry of Health
Peter Dyrda – Canadian Agency for Drugs and Technologies in Health (CADTH)
Daniel McLean – pan-Canadian Pharmaceutical Alliance (pCPA
Karen Voin – Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association (CLHIA)

Sample of Content in Report
Summary of Biosimilars Section

The great appeal of biosimilars is the cost savings they generate. The premise that biosimilar adoption would allow increased investment in the same disease area and/or funding of new agents doesn’t seem to be supported.

  • Results from recent needs assessments conducted by CARE™ Gastroenterology and Rheumatology suggest new agents are available but lack funding. Many patients do not tolerate and/or do not respond to what we have available. Exciting new agents are in development with novel mechanisms of action and clear advantages over existing therapy in efficacy and safety.
Summary of Access to Innovation Section

There have been huge innovative advances in the last 15 years that significantly improved patient outcomes. Many new drugs have been approved for use in Canada but the growing time lag to funding has impacted access.

As we look to the near future of treatment options that are curative with approaches that are translatable to other disease how to choose what to fund and where does the money come from.

Would eliminating/removing older therapies that have been shown to be of little value? Tradeoffs around value judgements here of effectiveness.

Adopting Universal standards to look at outcomes (i.e. is the bar different in breast cancer? Or acute leukemia or for younger versus older people?)

Collective clinician experience suggests that there is inconsistency across specialties in terms of what is funded and approved.

This is both a provincial issue BUT also cuts across disease. Why is cancer funded differently than other chronic disease? This is another challenge with access to (affordable) innovation.

But all is not lost… (1) Healthcare is improving, (2) We can do more for patients, (3) Patients and society have increasing expectations of the healthcare system.