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Crohn’s drug now more accessible under P.E.I. formulary coverage

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A Feb. 15 update to P.E.I.’s drug formulary included coverage for the Crohn’s drug Remicade on the same basis as other treatment options, including biosimilars. - 123RF Stock Photo

A drug that helps Islanders who live with Crohn’s disease is more accessible now that it’s been added to provincial coverage.

A Feb. 15 update to P.E.I.’s drug formulary included coverage for the Crohn’s drug Remicade on the same basis as other treatment options, including biosimilars.

Crohn’s and Colitis Canada says this decision protects patients’ treatment stability by ensuring they will be able to remain on a treatment that works for them, and also allows patients who are considering starting a new treatment to choose their best option, in consultation with a doctor.

“By mandating patient and doctor choice in treatments for Crohn’s, and not forcing the switching of treatments, Prince Edward Island is setting an important example for the rest of the country,” said Mina Mawani, president and CEO of Crohn’s and Colitis Canada.

Crohn’s and Colitis Canada supports the introduction of safe, effective and lower-cost treatment options like biosimilars, but remains concerned about patients being forced to switch away from medications that have already worked for them. The organization is also concerned about doctors being forced to prescribe one treatment over another on the basis of cost alone.

Treatments for Canadians living with Crohn’s or colitis are not one size fits all. Each patient will respond differently to a course of treatment, and a treatment that works well for one person may not work for another.

“It is important that Prince Edward Islanders living with Crohn’s disease have access to a range of treatment options,” said Dr. Jennifer Jones, a gastroenterologist. “Before recommending any treatment, doctors must account for a number of considerations, including a patient’s suitability. These important decisions should not be made on the basis of cost alone.”

Crohn’s and Colitis Canada is calling on other provinces to follow P.E.I.’s lead in protecting patient and doctor choice and mandating no forced switch.

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