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Inflammation, depression and diabetes have huge cost for private plans in Quebec in 2016


Alain Thériault

22 June 2017 07:00

Photo : Freepik

According to Telus Health, inflammatory diseases, depression and diabetes accounted for one-quarter of the costs of the claim in 2016 in Quebec. They have also accounted for 15 % of the number of claims.

During the annual presentation of its statistics in Montreal on the 11th of April, Telus has revealed that the inflammatory diseases (including rheumatoid arthritis) accounted for 12.1% of costs of claims of private plans that used their payment card at Quebec city in 2016. This condition of health has not represented only 0.3 % of the number of claims.

The results of Telus ‘ represent a sample of 3.6 million of certificates of insurance in Canada, of which 713 283 in Quebec. A certificate represents the participant in the plan, as well as his / her spouse and dependents if applicable.

Pharmacist Telus Health and presenter of the results, Jayson Gallant has indicated that there was no great surprise to see the Remicade trôner at the top of drugs that are more expensive in Quebec in 2016. It is also the rank that he occupied in 2015. Remicade treats most health conditions, the more expensive the past year, rheumatoid arthritis and inflammatory diseases.

The Remicade was counted to him only 5.8 % of the cost of drugs in 2016. The second drug most expensive in Quebec in 2016, Humira, which treats the same conditions as Remicade. It accounted for 3.8% of the costs. These two molecules are of biological medicines. They were also the two most expensive in 2015.

The emergence of biosimilars

Able to reduce the costs of these diseases, drugs, biosimilars such as Inflectra, have recently made their appearance. Inflectra offers, for example, a treatment 30 % cheaper than Remicade.

In addition to the biosimilar, the other four are currently available for various diseases, including Brenzys, which treats rheumatoid arthritis. Mr. Gallant indicated that six other biosimilar drugs are currently in development and should appear in the market by 2018.

« The Impact of biosimilars remains limited in private plans, » said Mr. Gallant. According to the business portfolio of Telus Health, the use of three biosimilars recently become available, or Inflectra, Basaglar and Grastofil, represents less than 1 % of claimants and 0.5 % of the cost, for the condition which is common.

Depression : a concern

Depression is also a concern for the private plans. The drugs that treat it accounted for 6.4 % of the costs. The number of claimants has been critical to maintain this condition the second-largest diseases of the most expensive in 2016 in Quebec, or 8.6 % of all claimants. Only problems with high blood pressure surpass it, with a proportion of 8.8% of the number of claimants. Diabetes comes in third place, with 6.3% of costs in 2016. This medical condition has accounted for 5.6% of the total number of claimants.

The industry feeds the hopes of the side of biosimilars. Arrived in December 2015 as a surrogate to the biological molecule Lantus, Basaglar allows you to treat at a lower cost diabetes type 1 and type 2.

Biological medicines have a heavy weight

New biological drugs with great potential of use to keep the pressure on cost. Used to treat the cholesterol, the Repatha cost 20 times the price of statins in the traditional way. It covers only 1.5% of the population, for two indications.

In 2016 appeared the Vimizim, including the average cost of the annual salary is $ 675,000. «The Vimizim occupies a high position in the ranking, with only about 10 claimants in 2016, Quebec «, pointed out Jayson Gallant, in an interview on the sidelines of the event. He explained that the dose of the medicine varies according to the weight, so that it can cost approximately $ 500,000 for the annual treatment of a small child, and about a million dollars for an adult.

2017 should see the Elaprase, the average cost could reach up to 815 000 $. This drug is intended to treat an inherited disease called syndrome of the Hunter.

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