More Canadian women at increased risk of broken bones now have access to denosumab for postmenopausal osteoporosis

TORONTO, Nov. 21, 2011 /CNW/ - Osteoporosis Canada is pleased to announce that two new provinces, Manitoba and Newfoundland and Labrador, are providing access to a new class of osteoporosis treatments. With Manitoba (effective November 24, 2011) and Newfoundland and Labrador listing denosumab (Prolia®) on their provincial formularies, women with postmenopausal osteoporosis at risk for fractures now have access to increased treatment options. Denosumab is a targeted therapy in a new class of osteoporosis medications for postmenopausal women with osteoporosis at high risk for fracture.

"Osteoporosis Canada congratulates the provinces of Manitoba and Newfoundland and Labrador for recognizing the treatment needs of postmenopausal women with osteoporosis," said Dr. Famida Jiwa, President & CEO, Osteoporosis Canada. "Osteoporosis Canada will continue to work with officials in other provinces and territories to ensure that all patients with osteoporosis have options and access to the medications they need."

These announcements come just months after the provinces of Alberta, Saskatchewan, Nova Scotia and Quebec listed denosumab on their public formularies. At present time, coverage for denosumab is restricted to postmenopausal women with osteoporosis who fulfil fairly restrictive criteria in all provinces except Quebec, which is providing coverage without such restrictions.

"The Manitoba and Newfoundland and Labrador listings of denosumab on their drug plans is a positive step forward for postmenopausal women with osteoporosis, as it supports physicians' efforts in treating this debilitating disease," said Dr. Bill Leslie, Chair, Scientific Advisory Council, Osteoporosis Canada. "The devastating health consequences caused by osteoporosis can be prevented with effective treatments. That is why it is critically important to provide patients with access to all therapeutic options."

Despite these listings, patients' access to osteoporosis treatments in Canada is limited and varies across the country. Currently, the most commonly prescribed drugs for this disease are bisphosphonates. Denosumab offers a new alternative that is in a completely different class of medications called RANK ligand inhibitors.

"Patients with osteoporosis deserve to have access to treatment options to help prevent broken bones. More treatment options mean that doctors have more choice in how to best treat osteoporosis," said Larry Funnell, Chair, Canadian Osteoporosis Patient Network (COPN).

Osteoporosis could strike you or someone you love. It is a silent disease that affects nearly two million Canadians. The risk of a major osteoporotic fracture in Canada is among the highest in the world. Yet, despite the high prevalence of fractures, they are often not appropriately assessed or treated, leaving osteoporosis undiagnosed and undertreated. Broken bones are associated with devastating health consequences including pain, decreased quality of life, loss of independence, and even death. Preventing new fractures for those who have already had an osteoporotic fracture is Osteoporosis Canada's top priority. In 2010, Osteoporosis Canada issued new Clinical Practice Guidelines for the Diagnosis and Management of Osteoporosis in Canada1 that help physicians and patients better identify the risk of fracture, resulting in better fracture prevention and better management of osteoporosis overall.

Additional osteoporosis statistics:

  • Almost 2 million Canadians are living with osteoporosis.
  • Over 90% of hip fractures in Canada occur in those over age 60.
  • In the first year after a vertebral or hip fracture there is at least a doubling in the risk of death.
  • Each year in Canada there are about 30,000 hip fractures - many more Canadians suffer osteoporotic fractures affecting the spine, wrist, shoulder, and pelvis.
  • A 50-year-old woman has a 40% chance of developing hip, vertebral or wrist fractures during her lifetime.2
  • Over one-quarter of hip fractures in Canada occur in men.
  • The 1 in 6 lifetime risk of hip fracture is greater than the 1 in 9 lifetime risk of developing breast cancer.3
  • 1 in 4 women who have a new vertebral fracture will fracture again within one year.4

About Osteoporosis Canada
Osteoporosis Canada, a registered charity, is the only national organization serving people who have or are at risk for osteoporosis. In keeping with its vision of a Canada without osteoporotic fractures, the organization works to educate, empower and support individuals and communities in the risk-reduction and treatment of osteoporosis by providing medically accurate information to patients, health professionals and the public. For more information, visit


1 Papaioannou A et al. Clinical practice guidelines for the diagnosis and management of osteoporosis in Canada. CMAJ. 2010; 1-10.
2 Melton LJ III, Chrischilles EA, Cooper C, Lane AW, Riggs BL. Perspective: how many women have osteoporosis? J Bone Miner Res. 1992; 7:1005-10.
3 Cummings SR, Black DM, Rubin SM. Lifetime risks of hip, colles', or vertebral fracture and coronary heart disease among white postmenopausal women. Arch Intern Med. 1989; 149:2445-8.
4 Lindsay R, Burge RT, Strauss DM. One year outcomes and costs following a vertebral fracture. Osteoporosis Int. 2005; 16:78-85.

SOURCE Osteoporosis Canada

For further information:

or to arrange an interview with an Osteoporosis Canada spokesperson, please contact:
Matthew Rocheford
Osteoporosis Canada
(416) 696-2663

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