JointHealth™ express   July 16, 2008

Good news for people in British Columbia living with moderate to severe rheumatoid arthritis: abatacept (Orencia®) and rituximab (Rituxan®) have been added to the provincial medication reimbursement plan. Both will be available to people with moderate to severe rheumatoid arthritis on a case-by-case basis.

While this is a step in the right direction, Arthritis Consumer Experts has concerns about the listing criteria for abatacept and rituximab: people who need these medications must first prove that they have failed to respond to two anti-TNF biologics, which is a restriction on coverage not supported by research. Arthritis Consumer Experts will continue to call on the BC government to list abatacept and rituximab in a manner consistent with research and international best practices.