Patients Who Need Infliximab Left Behind
EDMONTON, June 18 /CNW/ - Arthritis Consumer Experts (ACE) welcomed the
government of Alberta's announcement that etanercept (Enbrel(R)) and
adalimumab (Humira(R)) will be added to the provincial medication
reimbursement formulary for the treatment of ankylosing spondylitis.
"Previously, the government had declined to list etanercept (Enbrel(R))
for the treatment of ankylosing spondylitis, and adalimumab (Humira(R)) had
been under review for approximately a year and a half, so this is a tremendous
step forward," said Cheryl Koehn, president of ACE.
"Countless individuals and organizations have written letters to the
Alberta government voicing concern about their lengthy review times and drug
plan inequities," said Koehn, "and we are pleased that the voices of people
with arthritis have finally been heard."
However, Koehn also noted that while these two listings put the Alberta
government on the right track, they have failed to list infliximab
(Remicade(R)), the only treatment some people living with ankylosing
spondylitis respond to. Infliximab has been under review in Alberta since July
"People who depend on the provincial medication reimbursement plan should
have access to the full arsenal of treatment options," Koehn said. "ACE is
calling on government to immediately list infliximab on the provincial
medication formulary alongside etanercept and adalimumab for the treatment of
There are few or no extra costs associated with listing three biologics
as opposed to two, because patients can only take one biologic at a time and
biologics are similarly priced.
"Why has the government failed to list infliximab? To our knowledge, the
costs of etanercept, adalimumab, and infliximab are very similar - that's what
we've seen in other disease types, like rheumatoid arthritis and psoriatic
arthritis," noted Koehn.
"The Government has done 98% of the job on this issue, and we're asking
them to do 100%," Koehn concluded.
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
For further information:
For further information: Quincey Kirschner, (778) 847-9793,