Arthritis Consumer Experts

July 8, 2008
For Immediate Release

Saskatchewan the second province to list all biologic response modifiers for each approved indication

(Regina, SK) — Arthritis Consumer Experts (ACE) today welcomed the government of Saskatchewan's announcement that infliximab (Remicade®) has been added to the provincial medication reimbursement formulary for the treatment of ankylosing spondylitis and psoriatic arthritis.

With this listing, Saskatchewan becomes the second province in the country to provide reimbursement coverage for every biologic medication approved to treat the three most common types of inflammatory arthritis: rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, and psoriatic arthritis. Quebec is the only other province to list all approved medications for these indications.

"Our organization is very encouraged to see that the government of Saskatchewan has taken such a strong step towards ending discrimination against people who live with arthritis," said Cheryl Koehn, president of ACE.

"Previously, people in Saskatchewan who lived with these potentially devastating forms of inflammatory arthritis were denied coverage for each biologic response modifier approved for the treatment of these diseases," Koehn continued. "The government of Saskatchewan has heard the voices of people with arthritis telling them that this was inexcusable, and government has listened."

In November 2007, ACE held a press conference in Regina, drawing attention to the lack of coverage for medications to treat ankylosing spondylitis and psoriatic arthritis. Since November, the government of Saskatchewan has listed every approved medication for the treatment of these diseases.

"People with these diseases who depend on the provincial medication reimbursement plan now have access to the full arsenal of treatment options," Koehn said. "ACE thanks the government of Saskatchewan on behalf of people with arthritis."

Ken Mulholland, Treasurer of the Canadian Spondylitis Association, agreed. "We are so happy that all three of the biologics approved for use in ankylosing spondylitis and psoriatic arthritis have been added to the Saskatchewan medication formulary," he said. "This decision tells people with these types of arthritis in Saskatchewan that their government puts value on their well-being."

Arthritis Consumer Experts tracks the performance of provincial medication reimbursement plans across the country, and ranks the provinces in their "Report Card on provincial formulary reimbursement listings for biologic response modifiers".

"Over the past ten months, since the publication of our first report card, Saskatchewan has risen from the middle of the pack to first place, a position they share with Quebec," noted Koehn.

"The government of Saskatchewan is demonstrating fair, responsible formulary management," Koehn concluded.

About ACE

Arthritis Consumer Experts (ACE) is a national organization that provides research-based information and education to Canadians with arthritis. The organization helps to empower people living with all forms of arthritis to take control of their disease and to take action in health care and research decision making. ACE is led by people with arthritis and its activities are guided by a strict set of guiding principles, and by an advisory board comprised of leading scientists, medical professionals and informed arthritis activists.

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For more information:
Quincey Kirschner
(778) 847-9793

Diana Arajs
(416) 538-5837