JointHealth™ express   March 11, 2010

Updates to British Columbia’s PharmaCare Formulary

On January 26, 2010, expansion of BC’s coverage, under PhamaCare’s Special Authority Program, for abatacept (Orencia®) and rituximab (Rituxan®) for the treatment of severely active rheumatoid arthritis came into effect.

Rituximab now has two courses of treatment for initial coverage, instead of only one. And, the coverage for both abatacept and rituximab now include patients treated “in combination with methotrexate who have failed to respond to an adequate trial of at least one anti-TNF agent (adalimumab, infliximab, or etanercept) or have contraindications to these anti-TNF agents.” Patients are no longer expected to fail a trial of etanercept plus either adalimumab or infliximab in order to be covered.

These updates are now reflected in Arthritis Consumer Experts’ Report Card on provincial formulary reimbursement listings for biologic response modifiers.