Oncology biosimilars were introduced at BC Cancer in the fall of 2019. As part of an interdisciplinary steering committee at BC Cancer, pharmacists Anne Dar Santos and Kimberly Kuik were instrumental in their successful implementation. This incredible achievement earned them the prestigious Merit Award from the Canadian Association of Pharmacy in Oncology (CAPhO). It is one of the organization’s highest honours.
“I nominated Anne and Kimberly because they both worked really hard on the implementation of oncology biosimilars in B.C.,” says Dr. Lynne Nakashima, senior director, Provincial Pharmacy at BC Cancer. “They jumped in and got the work done, were efficient and timely and helped make the project a success!”
Biosimilar drugs work in the same way as an original brand name drug, but are more cost-effective for the health care system. The savings allows funding to be redirected to other new and innovative cancer treatments. When oncology biosimilars entered the Canadian market, Anne and Kimberly were included in an interdisciplinary steering committee to review the evidence, make recommendations and monitor the transition process.
Anne, an oncology drug information specialist based at BC Cancer - Vancouver, supported the steering committee with her expertise in drug information and education and Kimberly, a pharmacy professional practice leader based at BC Cancer – Victoria, provided valuable insight into operations and implementation.
"There are so many moving parts needed to support the cancer treatment that we provide at BC Cancer, and I am lucky to be able to work with colleagues who help to bring it all together," says Anne.
"I feel very privileged to be nominated and recognized when there are so many deserving oncology pharmacists doing great work every day," says Kimberly, who started at BC Cancer – Kelowna in 1998 and moved to BC Cancer – Victoria in 2016. "I would like to especially thank Lynne Nakashima for nominating Anne and myself for this award. She has been and continues to be an incredibly supportive mentor."
Kimberly says her favourite part of her job is the people she gets to work with – both patients and her colleagues. "I am inspired every day by the caring, dedicated staff that I work with and the patients who courageously navigate their cancer journey."
The implementation of oncology biosimilars went very smoothly in BC. Clinician acceptance has been strong, and safe patient care has been maintained. This could not have done this without Anne and Kimberly's efforts. Congratulations!