Crohn's and Colitis Canada Announces Updated Position Statement on Biosimilar Drugs

Updated Biosimilar Position Statement
September 5, 2019, Toronto, ON – Today, Crohn’s and Colitis Canada released their updated Position on biosimilar drugs. Supporting studies, including a report on cross-Canada surveys of patients and caregivers, gastroenterologists and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) nurses was also released.
“Crohn’s and Colitis Canada is a research-based organization. We took the time to carefully review our position on biosimilars and particularly on related non-medical switching policy in order to represent our patients thoughtfully and responsibly,” says Mina Mawani, President and CEO of Crohn’s and Colitis Canada. “Our position that a non-medical switch policy is not in the best interest of patients is based on what we’ve learned these past few months. We are very pleased to share our updated Position and the studies we’ve developed to help inform policy across Canada.”
The Crohn’s and Colitis Canada Position Statement asserts that:
  • Biosimilars are a safe and effective treatment for people with Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis (the two main forms of IBD).
  • The decision to switch a patient from a biologic drug to its biosimilar should be based on patient/doctor choice.
  • Non-medical switching from a biologic drug to its biosimilar is not in the best interest of patients.
The Position Statement offers details on factors that must be considered in the event of the implementation of a non-medical switch policy including critical patient exemptions, required patient supports, extraordinary monitoring requirements and significant communication and education needs. “We have serious concerns about the potential for multiple non-medical switching – this cannot be supported,” says Ms. Mawani. “Further, we understand that such policies are being considered because of fiscal pressures, so should the price differential between biologics and biosimilars be eliminated, a non-medical switch should not be considered by policy-makers at all.”
Canada has one of the highest rates of Crohn’s and colitis in the world. Today, more than 270,000 Canadians have Crohn’s and colitis, a number that is expected to increase to over 400,000 within the next decade. Alarmingly, this chronic autoimmune disease is increasingly being diagnosed in children and as our population ages, a new challenge of caring for the frail elderly with IBD will present itself. Crohn’s and colitis prevalence is also increasing amongst Canada’s immigrant population.
Crohn’s and Colitis Canada is committed to supporting people with IBD from across the country and will continue to share information with health care decision makers in all provinces and territories to inform patient-centred policy. “Our focus is on the patient. Their health and well-being is our priority,” says Ms. Mawani.
For further information or to arrange interviews, please contact:
Stacey Sheehan, Marketing and Communications Coordinator, Crohn's and Colitis Canada, 416-920-5035 ext. 243,
Crohn’s and Colitis Canada is the only national, volunteer-based charity focused on finding the cures for Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis and improving the lives of everyone impacted by these diseases. We are the world’s second largest health charity funder of Crohn’s and colitis research, and our patient programs and advocacy efforts support the people affected by these chronic autoimmune diseases, which cause the body to attack healthy tissue, leading to the inflammation of all or part of the gastrointestinal tract. Visit for more information.

  • 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.

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