While not yet a frequently heard term in melanoma treatment, biologic medications are making their way from arthritis to other chronic illnesses, including cancers. Biologics are medications that are created from living organisms, such as bacteria or yeast, as opposed to chemicals. The second iterations of these products are biosimilars; the closest imitations to the first products possible, though the chemical compositions of the first cannot be exactly duplicated.

Like other medications, biosimilars in Canada require chemical equivalence trials before being put on the market. These trials include a comparison of the mechanism of action, rate of administration, dosage form, and strength of the original medication and the biosimilar. This is to ensure that there will be no difference in the safety or efficacy between the two medications.

As biosimilars are most often developed for the treatment of arthritis, the Arthritis Consumer Experts (ACE) are leaders in the biosimilar field. Since 2009, the ACE has been working with advocacy groups, patients, healthcare, and government stakeholders to support the development of a medication approval and reimbursement access regime. Recently, ACE launched the Biosim•Exchange website. Biosim•Exchange is an information hub for consumers to learn about biosimilars, stay up-to-date on biosimilar news, and background analysis of biosimilars currently on the market. Having this information helps patients participate in forming their treatment plan, and encourages collaboration between patients and their medical team.

Biosimilars are a rapidly developing option for the treatment of chronic illnesses. To stay on top of advancements in this field, check out Biosim•Exchange!