Nova Scotians living with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) are requesting that the government take the time to propose and implement a thoughtful policy around non-medical switch that reflects their lived experiences.
Halifax, Nova Scotia. (February 4, 2022) – People in Nova Scotia living with Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis (the main forms of IBD) have had to be very patient along their health journey. In many cases, they’ve tried several different treatment options, often enduring severe side effects and painful flareups, all in the pursuit of stabilizing their health.
Recently, the Nova Scotia government announced their intentions of implementing a non-medical switch policy as a means for the province to save money. This policy will require Nova Scotians currently taking biologic medications to switch to a biosimilar drug for non-medical reasons. A biosimilar is, as the name suggests, similar – but not identical to – the biologic medication many Crohn’s and colitis patients rely on.
This switch is worrying to Nova Scotians living with Crohn’s or colitis for a number of reasons. The proposed policy will force Nova Scotians from a medication that has proven to successfully manage their painful condition and require them to try alternatives that may not be as effective. Switching medications may not only disrupt stable health conditions, but also can cause painful flare-ups. Biologic medications are most commonly prescribed when other alternatives have been exhausted – meaning the government is poised to disrupt the treatment that is working in managing serious IBD conditions. Finally, those that are able to return to their biologic treatment after attempting other treatment options may find their medication ineffective as their body develop antibodies to resist what was once a successful treatment.
We know that half of Crohn’s and colitis patients will experience a disruption in their health after switching from a biologic medication to a biosimilar.
Nova Scotians with Crohn’s or colitis have had patience. Now they’re asking the government to have patience, too, and not rush through a non-medical switch that will negatively affect the health of Nova Scotians living with these diseases.
To protect people in Nova Scotia living with IBD, Crohn’s and Colitis Canada has launched a campaign to encourage Quebecers to reach out to their provincial representatives through an email campaign and sign a petition asking for this switch to better reflect the lived experience of Crohn’s and colitis patients.
Let the Nova Scotia government know that they need to take more time to consider this non-medical switch policy by sending a letter at crohnsandcolitis.ca/patiencens
ABOUT CROHN’S AND COLITIS CANADA
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 children and adults affected by these diseases.
We are one of the top two health charity funders of Crohn’s and colitis research in the world, investing over $135 million in research since 1974, leading to important breakthroughs in genetics, gut microbes, inflammation, and cell repair as well as laying the groundwork for new and better treatments.
We are transforming the lives of people affected by Crohn’s and colitis (the two main forms of inflammatory bowel disease) through research, patient programs, advocacy, and awareness.
For more information on Crohn’s and Colitis Canada, visit crohnsandcolitis.ca