Non-Medical Switch: Biosimilars

Biosimilars: Patient/Doctor Choice

With the right treatment plan, children, teens, and adults with Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis are doing great things. They’re living healthier, more active, and happier lives, and nothing should impede that progress.

New medications to treat Crohn’s and colitis are becoming more accessible. Some of these new medications include biosimilars – biologic drugs that are similar, but not identical, to innovator biologics. Of course, we want doctors and their patients to have access to biosimilars along with existing treatments.

However, some provincial governments are considering switching people on certain biologics to its biosimilar for non-medical reasons, including cost.

We took the time to review all available evidence, gather perspectives from patients and caregivers, gastroenterologists and IBD nurses, consult with specialist experts in the treatment of Crohn’s and colitis and consider the legal and ethical impact of non-medical switching policy.

All these inputs contributed to our Updated Position Statement on Biosimilars, click here

We agree that biosimilars are a safe and effective treatment for people with Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis but firmly believe that switching from a biologic to its biosimilar for non-medical reasons is not in the best interest of patients.

Biosimilar Survey

To support our Position, we surveyed Canadian Crohn's and colitis healthcare providers (HCPs),patients and caregivers to get their perspectives  on biosimilars and non-medical switching. We developed a comprehensive report of the findings:  Patient and Health Care Provider Input: Non-Medical Biosimilar Switch Policy for Patients with Inflammatory Bowel Disease, August 2019.

To view a summary of the results and key findings, click here.
To view our comprehensive report, click here.

Legal/ ethics review 

To further contribute to our Position on biosimilars and non-medical switch policy, we commissioned a legal and ethics review to assess challenges in a Canadian legal, bioethical and policy context. The report, The Law and Ethics of Switching from Biologic to Biosimilar in Canada, September 2019, was developed by Dr. Timothy Caulfield and Blake Murdoch of the University of Alberta.

To view the abstract and comprehensive report, click here


To know more about non-medical switching click here

  • Canada has among the highest incidence rates of Crohn's and colitis in the world.
  • 1 in 140 Canadians lives with Crohn’s or colitis.
  • Families new to Canada are developing these diseases for the first time.
  • Incidence of Crohn’s in Canadian kids under 10 has doubled since 1995.
  • People are most commonly diagnosed before age 30.

Other Areas of Interest