Arthritis Consumer Experts

February 23, 2009
For Immediate Release

Arthritis medications ignored as PEI formulary expands to include new medications to treat cancer, COPD, and osteoporosis

(Charlottetown, PEI) — While the government of PEI announced on Friday $1.6 million of new funding for several different drugs, people with devastating forms of inflammatory arthritis continue to wait for coverage of gold-standard arthritis medications.

"Why does the government of PEI continue to ignore the needs of people with inflammatory arthritis?" asked Cheryl Koehn, President of Arthritis Consumer Experts. "While we applaud new drug funding for people in need, it is shocking that five years into the review process the government of PEI continues to ignore citizens whose lives are being destroyed by untreated inflammatory arthritis," she said.

Several biologic response modifiers, the gold standard in treatment for moderate to severe inflammatory arthritis, have been under review in PEI for up to five years. Prince Edward Island remains dead last on the JointHealth™ report card on provincial formulary listings for biologic response modifiers.

These arthritis medications are listed on many public formularies in provinces across the country. Quebec, Saskatchewan, and BC provide reimbursement for all biologics approved to treat forms of inflammatory arthritis like rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, and psoriatic arthritis. In Atlantic Canada, all other maritime provinces provide a range of biologic options for each of these three disease-types. Only people in Prince Edward Island are left almost totally without help.

"This government is clearly putting a very low value on the lives of citizens with inflammatory arthritis" Koehn said. "What is happening on Prince Edward Island looks very much like discrimination against people with arthritis, and it is unacceptable to our community."

About ACE

Arthritis Consumer Experts (ACE) is a national organization that provides research-based information and education to Canadians with arthritis, and monitors the performance of provincial health care delivery to those living with the disease. 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, JointHealth™ Program Director, Arthritis Consumer Experts
(778) 847-9793