JointHealth™ express   July 27, 2017

Tell BC PharmaCare: Support canakinumab therapy for children in need

Arthritis Consumer Experts and Cassie and Friends Society have launched a canakinumab access campaign.

Juvenile arthritis (JA) affects approximately 24,000 infants to teens in BC and Canada, or 3 in every 1,000, making it one of the most common causes of chronic disability in children. Ten to 20 percent of those children have systemic juvenile idiopathic arthritis (sJIA), a severe and potentially life-threatening form of the disease - and many can't get the medication they desperately need.

In partnership with Arthritis Consumer Experts, Cassie and Friends Society is leading a call for the BC Government to drastically improve the outlook of children with sJIA by allowing reimbursement coverage for canakinumab for the small number of children who need it.

Why have we launched our canakinumab access campaign?
Canakinumab is publicly funded in other Canadian provinces/territories but not BC, putting British Columbian children living with sJIA and other autoinflammatory diseases at a horrible disadvantage by denying them access to a life-changing therapy.

How will canakinumab help children?
Canakinumab is a biologic medication that targets the specific immune dysfunction we now know is causing the severe symptoms of sJIA. There are relatively few children in BC that will require canakinumab, as most children with sJIA respond to other treatments. However, for these vulnerable and ill children, canakinumab is their only hope to avoid the progression of their disabling, potentially life-threatening, disease.

In receiving canakinumab therapy, children will experience reduced disease symptoms and allow for the rapid discontinuation of other medications, like steroids, which result in intolerable side effects to kids. The other major benefit of canakinumab is that it is given by a once-monthly injection, which is easy to tolerate in the young children who need it, some as young as 2 years old. The comparator medication for sJIA requires a daily, excruciatingly painful injection which can be extremely stressful, or even impossible for families of young children to administer.

How can you get involved? For some sJIA patients, access to canakinumab therapy has become a life or death issue. Please join us in urging BC PharmaCare to fund this therapy at least on a case-by-case basis. We need your voice to send our message that kids deserve better.

Learn more about this issue:

Contact: or 604-617-1382

This petition will be delivered to:
Minister of Health British Columbia
Honourable Adrian Dix