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Biosimilars in Health Care

In 2020, the pan-Canadian Oncology Biosimilars Initiative was expanded beyond cancer to include all areas of health. Now called the pan-Canadian Biosimilars Initiative, works to help all Canadians who may take a biosimilar biologic.

Biologics - Originators and Biosimilars

A biologic is a medication that is made from living organisms or their cells. Biologics have transformed the care of patients with a wide range of diseases, including diabetes, inflammatory arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, psoriasis, and cancer.

Some examples of biologics include insulin, vaccines, hormones, and monoclonal antibodies.

These medications have been one of the most significant medical developments over the past decades.

Fundamentally, a biosimilar is also a biologic. The key difference is a biosimilar is just a biologic that mimics one that is already available in Canada.

Once a patent for a biologic (also called reference biologic) has expired, Health Canada will allow for submission of a biosimilar biologic (or “biosimilar”) for this medication. A biosimilar is a medication that is highly like the reference biologic that was already authorized for sale. There are no expected clinically meaningful differences in efficacy and safety between a biosimilar and the reference biologic.

Biosimilars Implementation Evaluation Framework, Report, and Toolkit

The intent of the evaluation framework is to support:

  • studying the effect of different approaches on:
    • drug utilization and uptake
    • cost savings
    • patient experiences and outcomes
  • assessments on education and resource needs

The result is a toolkit with a set of evaluation questions and indicators to measure the impacts of biosimilar funding policies and implementation strategies on patients, clinicians and drug programs.


Learn about the methods used, the results and who was involved in developing the evaluation framework in the summary report.


Find a list of evaluation questions and measurement indicators to support the assessment of biosimilar funding policies and implementation strategies.