Access To Medications

  • Every dollar invested in new medicines saves the health care system seven times that amount in other medical areas (Lichenberg, 2001).
  • Early treatment with medications can reduce the short- and long-term costs associated with arthritis. Early treatment can:
    1. Control aggressive forms of the disease.
    2. Minimize the need for on-going tests and procedures.
    3. Reduce the need for hospitalizations and visits to physicians.
    4. Delay or eliminate the need for some joint replacement surgeries, relieving pressure on our growing waitlists.
    5. Decrease costs associated with intermediate and long term care.
  • While there are no cures yet for arthritis, excellent treatments exist for some of the most serious types of the disease. The gold standard in treatment for moderate to severe cases of many some types of inflammatory arthritis is a combination of medications, usually including a DMARD and a biologic response modifier.
  • Spending on medications is associated with improved health outcomes for Canadian citizens (Cremieux et al. 2005).
  • Provincial medication reimbursement plan coverage for critically important arthritis medications varies widely across the country.
  • Medications that are reimbursable under the public plan in one province may not be in another. In practical terms, this means that two people with the same type of arthritis will likely receive very different care quality if they live in different provinces.
  • Quite often, appropriate medication treatment can mean the difference between lifelong disability and recovery.