Non-Medical Switch: Biosimilars

Now is not the time

There's been a lot we've been asked to do or not to do during the pandemic to stay healthy.

So why are the Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia governments asking people to switch their critical medications? 

If you reside in Ontario, this may affect you, learn more.

If you reside in Quebec, this may affect you, learn more.

If you reside in New Brunswick, this may affect you, learn more.

If you reside in Nova Scotia, this may affect you, learn more.

patient-doctor choice matters: Let your provincial government know

We think treatment decisions should be made between you and your doctor - not by government. Policy change made at the expense of your health is not okay.

Do you agree? Take part in our letter-writing campaign to let your provincial government know how you feel! All you have to do is enter your name, email, and postal code - we'll take care of the rest.  

Your participation in this campaign is crucial! The more noise our community makes, the more likely provincial governments will reconsider implementing a non-medical switch. 

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 the inputs contributing to our Updated Position Statement on Biosimilars can be found 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.'

To learn more about biosimilars and non-medical switch in our factsheet, click here.

To check out our infographic to learn more about biologic and biosimilar drugs in Canada, click here.

Joint Crohn's and Colitis Canada/Canadian Association of Gastroenterology Position Statement

Crohn's and Colitis Canada has collaborated with the Canadian Association of Gastroenterology to develop a joint position statement on biosimilars for the treatment of patients with inflammatory bowel disease. The paper has been accepted for publication in The Journal of the Canadian Association of Gastroenterology and is available here.  

To view the Joint Canadian Association of Gastroenterology and Crohn’s Colitis and Canada Position Statement on Biosimilars for the Treatment of Inflammatory Bowel Disease, click here.

To view the Argument Against A Biosimilar Switch Policy for Infliximab in Patients with Inflammatory Bowel Disease Living in Alberta (in press at the Journal of the Canadian Association of Gastroenterology), click here.

An Open Letter to Ontario Premier and Deputy Premier/Minister of Health

Crohn’s and Colitis Canada, Gastrointestinal Society, Diabetes Canada and the Institute for Optimizing Health Outcomes collectively express their concerns to Ontario Premier Doug Ford and Hon. Christine Elliot, the Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, about the risks of a non-medical switch policy. Furthermore, the letter calls for the Ontario government to engage all stakeholders, such as patients and clinicians, in open discussions about the impact of such a policy as well as to review evidence and alternatives.

To view the submitted letter, click here.


We spoke to patients, caregivers, and gastroenterologists, and healthcare providers about the impact of a non-medical switch at our National GUTS conference in October 2019. To view the recording from our Town Hall and watch interviews, click here.

Biosimilar Survey

To support our Position, we surveyed Canadian Crohn's and colitis healthcare providers, 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.

Get more answers in our Biosimilars in Canada fact sheet, 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