You are using an outdated browser. We suggest you update your browser for a better experience. Click here for update.
Close this notification.
Skip to main content Skip to search

COVID-19: Get the latest updates or take a self-assessment.

Pan-Canadian Oncology Biosimilars Initiative

The pan-Canadian oncology biosimilars initiative aims to ensure that the implementation and use of therapeutic oncology biosimilars are appropriate and cost-effective across Canada. It is a joint initiative supported by the pan-Canadian Pharmaceutical Alliance and managed by Cancer Care Ontario on behalf of all provincial cancer agencies. This initiative is part of the pan-Canadian Pharmaceutical Alliance's biosimilars strategy.

Why We Need an Oncology Biosimilars Initiative

Compared with other countries, Canada is significantly behind in the use of biosimilars. Having a cancer-specific strategy will help guide people towards accepting the use of biosimilars for cancer treatment, and will make sure we take into account the different settings in which they are used.

Our Work so Far

  • Hosted the Pan-Canadian Oncology Biosimilars Summit in November 2018 (read more below, or download Proceedings in sidebar)
  • Developed an action plan to provide a high-level map for implementing biosimilars for cancer treatment across the country (see sidebar)
  • Assembled a team to develop a more detailed implementation strategy

Our Ongoing Work

  • Consult with clinicians, patients, patient advocacy organizations, cancer agencies, ministries and pharmaceutical manufacturers
  • Support planning, communication and implementation work for all provincial cancer agencies

Pan-Canadian Oncology Biosimilars Summit

The pan-Canadian Pharmaceutical Alliance and Cancer Care Ontario co-hosted a summit in Toronto on November 16, 2018 to bring together people from across the country to discuss the use of oncology biosimilars in Canada.


The summit focused on oncology biosimilars for several reasons:

  • Oncology biosimilars have specific implementation issues that need to be addressed that differ from non-oncology biosimilars.
  • In areas where biosimilars do exist, like rheumatology, stakeholders were already engaged.
  • We needed stakeholder feedback to help inform an Action Plan for the pan-Canadian Oncology Biosimilars Initiative.

Who attended

Participants came from 9 provinces and included:

  • patients
  • patient advocacy organizations
  • clinicians
  • health system administrators
  • government officials

Speakers and panelists included:

  • clinicians
  • payers
  • patients
  • patient advocacy organizations

A pharmacist from National Health Service England and representatives from the rheumatology field also shared their experience implementing biosimilars.

Summit Feedback and Action Plan

Participant feedback informed our Action Plan.

The pan-Canadian Pharmaceutical Alliance and Cancer Care Ontario presented draft strategic objectives and invited participants to provide feedback.

Their feedback emphasized the importance of:

  • Ongoing stakeholder engagement
  • Clinician and patient education
  • A review of clinical operations to ensure safe implementation of biosimilars
  • Reinvestment of savings into the cancer system
  • Patient monitoring and evaluation of safety and efficacy

Their feedback was used to create the Action Plan for the pan-Canadian Oncology Biosimilars Initiative.

Summit Proceedings Report

Detailed proceedings of the November 2018 pan-Canadian Oncology Biosimilars Summit are available in the proceedings report.