Breakthrough for Multiple Myeloma Patients: Access to lenalidomide
(Revlimid(R)) in Nova Scotia; Update on Newfoundland & Labrador, Manitoba and
New Brunswick

MONTREAL, April 15 /CNW Telbec/ - Following the broadcast on CTV's W5 of the plight of multiple myeloma patient Frank Boyd and his inability to obtain appropriate drug treatment, on March 27, the President of Myeloma Canada, John Lemieux, immediately wrote to the Honourable Maureen MacDonald, Minister of Health of Nova Scotia urging her to implement an interim arrangement to ensure that Revlimid is available to multiple myeloma patients, including Mr. Boyd, in Nova Scotia. Revlimid is recognized worldwide as one of the most effective new medications in the treatment of multiple myeloma and one that extends patients' lives and, in many cases, allows them to be fully functioning and productive members of their communities.

On April 1, Myeloma Canada learned that the ongoing crusade to obtain equitable treatment for Nova Scotia myeloma patients had been successful. Under an interim administrative arrangement entered into between Celgene Canada, the drug manufacturer, and Nova Scotia Health, Frank Boyd and others will receive Revlimid free of charge.

Myeloma Canada is now awaiting the positive outcome of discussions for the general reimbursement of Revlimid. Mr. Lemieux stated that, "Myeloma Canada is expecting a permanent decision that will provide for the general reimbursement of Revlimid. We are confident this interim measure will lead to the inclusion of Revlimid on the Nova Scotia drug formulary."

Since the approval of Revlimid by Health Canada in October 2008, several provincial jurisdictions have approved Revlimid, either as second-line therapy (B.C., Alberta, Ontario and Saskatchewan) and in the case of Québec as third-line therapy for multiple myeloma patients. Newfoundland & Labrador has approved the drug and Manitoba now provides Revlimid on a case-by-case basis; shortly, New Brunswick should join the ranks of other provinces in providing a drug which has shown insurmountable evidence of effectiveness in the treatment of multiple myeloma.

About Multiple Myeloma

Multiple myeloma, a cancer of the bone marrow, is an incurable but treatable disease. Abnormal plasma cells, called myeloma cells, grow uncontrollably, crowding out the normal blood cells in the bone. This can bring on symptoms such as fatigue, recurrent infections and severe pain resulting from bone fractures. The disease disturbs the body's balance of minerals and prevents organs, such as the kidney, as well as nerves, from functioning properly. In Canada, approximately 2,000 people are diagnosed with multiple myeloma every year.

About Myeloma Canada

Myeloma Canada, the only national organization exclusively devoted to the Canadian myeloma community, is a non-profit charitable organization dedicated to supporting people living with multiple myeloma. The mission of Myeloma Canada is to: provide educational resources and support to patients, families, and caregivers; increase awareness of the disease; and promote improved access to new therapies, treatment options, and health care resources.

Myeloma Canada works with regional support groups and key myeloma experts to strengthen the voice of the Canadian myeloma community. Myeloma Canada works in close affiliation with the International Myeloma Foundation, the world's oldest and largest myeloma organization. For more information or to find out how you can help please visit its website at www.myelomacanada.ca.

SOURCE Myeloma Canada

For further information: For further information: Charles Pitts, 877-990-9044, cpitts@oromedia.com


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