Now is Not the Time: IBD patients call on Queen’s Park to delay the non-medical switch of their essential medication that will jeopardize their health during the COVID-19 pandemic

TORONTO, April 19, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Ontario’s IBD patients – as all Ontarians – have spent the past year following public health guidelines to keep themselves and others safe from the COVID-19 virus and not add to the burden that the healthcare system faces with each new wave and strain the pandemic brings.

To try and address the pandemic, the provincial government continues to ask Ontarians to stay at home and forgo seeing their families and friends. They’ve closed businesses and workplaces and are taking extraordinary measures to attempt to stop the spread and to protect the healthcare system.

Now, the Ontario government is asking people living with Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis to switch their biologic medication to a biosimilar drug for cost-saving measures. A biosimilar is, as the name suggests, similar – but not identical to – the biologic many people with IBD rely on.

Half of these individuals will experience a disruption in their health after changing their medication if the non-medical switch currently planned by the provincial government is enacted. It could also result in them needing medical attention from their doctors – who are already overwhelmed due to this third wave of COVID-19 – and puts people at risk should their symptoms be severe enough to merit a visit to high-risk settings such as their doctor’s office or a hospital.

The switch will undoubtedly further overtax healthcare providers with extended administrative work, since a switch to a biosimilar is not a simple switch to a generic drug.

Now is not the time for the government to be jeopardizing the health of immunocompromised people, nor to further burden healthcare providers with additional work for cost-saving measures to benefit the provincial government.

Restaurants and bars have been deemed unsafe. Ontarians can’t get a haircut or go to the gym. So how does it make sense that immunocompromised Ontarians are being asked to gamble with their health and to ask healthcare providers to take on an unnecessary additional workload?

To protect the IBD community, Crohn’s and Colitis Canada has launched a campaign to send letters to provincial representatives and sign a petition asking for this switch to be delayed until the pandemic is well in control.

Let the provincial government know that now is not the time to be switching critical medications by sending a letter at crohnsandcolitis.ca/sendletter.

ABOUT CROHN’S AND COLITIS CANADA

About Crohn’s and Colitis Canada
Crohn’s and Colitis Canada is on a relentless journey to find the cures for Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis and improve the lives of children and adults affected by these chronic diseases. We are the country’s largest volunteer-based organization with this mission and are one of the top two health charity funders of Crohn’s and colitis research in the world, investing over $135 million in research to date. We are transforming the lives of people affected by Crohn’s and colitis through research, patient programs, advocacy, and awareness. For more information, visit crohnsandcolitis.ca and follow us @getgutsycanada on TwitterFacebook, and Instagram.

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