JointHealth™ express   November 27, 2012

Do you have rheumatoid arthritis? We want your valuable input

The Common Drug Review (CDR) is currently welcoming patients and their caregivers to provide input on manufacturer’s submission for a new formulation of abatacept (Orencia®) for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Abatacept is currently administered by intravenous infusion. The new formulation is injectable.

The CDR is part of the Canadian Agency for Drugs and Technologies in Health. The CDR conducts objective, rigorous reviews of the clinical and cost effectiveness of drugs, and provides formulary listing recommendations to the publicly funded drug plans in Canada (except Quebec). To help them make their recommendations, the CDR accepts input from patient groups, like Arthritis Consumer Experts (ACE). We would like to gather your views and share them with the CDR.

These are the questions they are asking:
  1. What are the rheumatoid arthritis (RA) related symptoms and problems that impact the patients' day-to-day life and quality of life? For example: what aspects of RA are more important to control, how does RA affect day-to-day life, and are there any activities that the patient is not able to do as a result of RA?
  2. How well are patients managing their RA with currently available treatments? Examples of the types of information to be included in the answer are:
    • What therapy are patients using for RA?
    • How effective is current therapy in controlling the common aspects of RA?
    • Are there adverse effects that are more difficult to tolerate than others?
    • Are there hardships in accessing current therapy?
    • Are there needs, experienced by some or many patients, which are not being met by current therapy?
    • What are these needs?
  3. What challenges do caregivers face in caring for patients with RA?
    • How do treatments impact on the caregivers' daily routine or lifestyle?
    • Are there challenges in dealing with adverse effects related to current therapy?
  4. What challenges do caregivers face in caring for patients with RA?
    • Is it expected that the lives of patients will be improved by injectable abatacept, and how?
    • Is there a particular gap or unmet patient need in current therapy that injectable abatacept will help alleviate?
    • Would patients be willing to experience serious adverse effects with injectable abatacept if they experienced other benefits from the medication?
    • How much improvement in the condition would be considered adequate? What other benefits might injectable abatacept have, for example, fewer hospital visits or less time off work?
  5. What experiences have patients had to date with injectable abatacept as part of a clinical trial or through a manufacturer's compassionate supply?
    • What positive and negative effects does injectable abatacept have on the condition?
    • Which symptoms does injectable abatacept manage better than the existing therapy (as intravenous infusion) and which ones does it manage less effectively?
    • Does injectable abatacept cause adverse effects?
    • Which adverse effects are acceptable and which ones are not?
    • Is injectable abatacept easier to use?
    • How is injectable abatacept expected to change a patient's long-term health and well-being?
If you live with RA or care for someone with the disease, please send us your input. Patient groups are given 20 business days to share people’s experiences and expectations of medications, so please provide your input by Monday, December 17, 2012, so that we may submit a report by the December 21 deadline. Your input will be anonymous, unless you expressly state that you wish to have your name included in the submission.

Please contact us at to provide your input or arrange for a phone interview.