JointHealth™ express   May 25, 2017

Let BC PharmaCare hear "Your Voice" on biosimilar etanercept

BC PharmaCare is looking for your input on biosimilar etanercept (Erelzi) for the treatment of ankylosing spondylitis, juvenile idiopathic arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis

Biosimilar etanercept (Erelzi) is now being considered for coverage under the British Columbia Ministry of Health’s PharmaCare program. By filling out a questionnaire on a website called Your Voice, you can provide your input on biosimilar etanercept for the treatment of ankylosing spondylitis (AS), juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA). You can give input if you are a B.C. resident and have AS, JIA or RA, a caregiver to someone with AS, JIA or RA, or if your group represents people who live with AS, JIA or RA.

If you would like our help in providing your input, you can email us your input at or call us at 604-974-1366. We can send it as a patient organization on your behalf. Please provide your input to us by Friday, June 16 so that we may submit the questionnaire in time for the deadline.

The input is reviewed by the Drug Benefit Council, which then gives recommendations on whether a medication should be covered, and how, by BC PharmaCare. BC PharmaCare then makes a decision based on those recommendations and available resources. Policies and plans already in place also factor in the decision making process.

This is an opportunity for you to share your perspectives on medication decisions that affect you or someone you provide care for.

The submission deadline is 11:59pm on June 21, 2017. Patients and caregivers may give their input directly through the links below:
  • To view the information sheet for biosimilar etanerept (Erelzi) for ankylosing spondylitis, juvenile arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis: click here
  • For the Patient Questionnaire: click here
  • For the Caregiver Questionnaire: click here
  • For the Patient Group Questionnaire: click here
  • (Patient groups are required to register their name with the Ministry of Health before making their submission.)
About ankylosing spondylitis
Ankylosing spondylitis is one of the most common types of inflammatory arthritis. It is estimated to affect up to 1 in 200 people. Ankylosing spondylitis primarily affects the spine, but can also involve the hips, knees, shoulders, and rib cage. The most common symptom of AS is long-term back pain, along with spinal stiffness in the morning or after a long period of rest.

About juvenile idiopathic arthritis
Juvenile idiopathic arthritis affects approximately 24,000 infants to teens in Canada, or 3 in every 1,000, making it one of the most common causes of chronic disability in children. It is characterized by inflammation in five or more joints. Most commonly, it affects the large and small joints in the body, including knees, wrist and joints of the hands and feet.

About rheumatoid arthritis
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease with symptoms of inflammation and resulting pain. It is a disease process where the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks its own healthy joints. It is a relatively common disease – approximately 300,000 or 1 in 100 Canadians get it. The disease process causes swelling and pain in and around the joints and can affect the body’s organs, including the eyes, lungs, and heart.