Patients, Advocates and The Cameron Institute, issue call for equal access to IBD treatments
CAMBRIDGE, ONTARIO (September 12, 2017) – Approximately 233,000 Canadians know how it feels to wake up every day with IBD (Inflammatory Bowel Disease), which includes Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis – painful autoimmune disorders which attack the gastrointestinal tract.1,2 A new report published today by The Cameron Institute, a policy think tank, states that many Canadians with IBD lack access to biologic treatments which can help them live their lives comfortably.
The introduction of biologics, of which Canadian researchers played a leading role, was a game changer for those living with IBD, proving a highly effective treatment option3 with the potential to reduce the need for multiple surgeries, which inevitably takes a large emotional and physical toll.4
“Canada is world-renowned for its research into biologic treatments for IBD, and yet our citizens do not have equitable access to this treatment innovation” says Dr. D. Wayne Taylor, executive director, The Cameron Institute. “Those living with IBD urgently require comprehensive access to biologic medications or they will continue to suffer and have a lower quality of life, which is simply shameful. We hinder our own advancements and fail those living with IBD as we continue to block access to innovative, non-invasive and potentially life-changing treatment methods.”
The new report, IBD Research and Treatment: Canada’s Fame and Shame identifies the inequitable public access to biologics, transferring undue financial burden to those living with IBD by both public and private drug plans. Cost-cutting efforts have hindered access to medical therapies, or provided them too late, resulting in substandard care for those living with this lifelong, painful condition.5
“Biologic medications significantly impact those living with IBD. We know that when IBD patients receive the right medication, at the right time, they can live full, rewarding, and productive lives,” said Gail Attara, Chief Executive Officer, Gastrointestinal Society. “It is, therefore, essential that IBD patients have affordable access to these vital treatments.”
The Report highlights that in an effort to reduce costs, provincial drug plans and some private drug plans have attempted to make the switch from biologics to biosimilars.5 It goes on to state that the lowest cost conventional therapies do not work for a large proportion of IBD patients.5
The Cameron Institute, Gastrointestinal Society, and Canadians living with IBD are calling on governments to take a patient-centric approach towards care for those with IBD, providing universal access to biologics.
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About The Cameron Institute
The Cameron Institute was founded in 2009 as an alternative, not-for-profit, public policy think tank specializing in the independent study of health, social and economic issues both in Canada and around the world. It is governed by a volunteer board of directors representative of the scientific, clinical and policy sectors.
About the Gastrointestinal Society
The Gastrointestinal Society is a registered charity, serving Canadians since 1976 (along with the Canadian Society of Intestinal Research), by providing trusted, evidence-based information on all areas of the gastrointestinal tract, improving the lives of who have GI and liver conditions, supporting research, advocating for appropriate patient access to health care, and promoting gastrointestinal and liver health.