JointHealth™ express   April 5, 2016

Arthritis Consumer Experts Releases Ninth Annual Arthritis Medications Report Card

Good news/bad news for Canadians living with arthritis, depending on where they live

Arthritis Consumer Experts (ACE) has released its Ninth Annual JointHealth™ Arthritis Medications Report Card with a clear message to the federal and provincial governments in Canada: Reimbursement access to arthritis medications has improved in many Canadian provinces, however, disappointing inequities remain in patient/physician choice and patient access to reimbursement for the medication prescribed for them by their rheumatologist.

“Thanks to the advocacy efforts of people living with arthritis and their rheumatologists, progress has been made in many Canadian provinces. We encourage the federal and provincial governments to maintain their commitment to the estimated 600,000 Canadians living with a type of autoimmune arthritis – rheumatoid arthritis, axial spondyloarthritis, psoriatic arthritis and juvenile idiopathic arthritis – and their right to choose with their healthcare team the therapy best suited to their disease biology, which is distinctly different from patient to patient,” said Cheryl Koehn, Founder and President, Arthritis Consumer Experts.

Arthritis Consumer Expert's Annual JointHealth™ Arthritis Medications Report Card is Canada’s only independent patient organization evaluation of public reimbursement access to arthritis medications. In the past year, this landscape has dramatically changed with the public formulary listing of new medications in the subsequent entry biologics and targeted small molecule medications category.

JointHealth™ Arthritis Medications Report Card Highlights:
  • ACE is now monitoring three medication categories: biologic response modifiers, subsequent entry biologics, and targeted small molecule medications.
  • The table in the Appendix below provides current provincial rankings and their ranking change from the 2014 Report Card.
  • Quebec continues to be ranked number one in the Report Card, with a total of 28 approved medications.
  • The provinces that most improved their ranking were:
    Nova Scotia (4th in 2015 – 5th in 2014)
    Prince Edward Island (6th in 2015 – 7th in 2014)
    Newfoundland (10th in 2015 – 11th in 2014)
  • The province that experienced a ranking decline were:
    British Columbia (2nd in 2015 – 1st in 2014)
    Ontario (3rd in 2015 – 1st in 2014)
    Saskatchewan (4th in 2015 – 1st in 2014)
    Manitoba (8th in 2015 – 5th in 2014)
    NIHB (11th in 2015 – 8th in 2014)
Commenting on ACE’s messages to public payers, Ms. Koehn said: “When remission or optimal control of autoimmune arthritis does not occur with conventional disease modifying anti-rheumatic medications (DMARDs), it is vitally important to have full reimbursement access to the currently available biologic and targeted small molecule medications.”