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Patient groups release Pharmacare Principles in advance of Health Ministers’ Meeting

Best Medicines Coalition urging Ministers to ensure new policies expand access to prescription medicines

BMC Equitable document bannerThe Best Medicines Coalition (BMC), a national alliance of patient groups, released its Equitable Pharmaceutical Care: Principles and Considerations Regarding Pharmacare in advance of the January 20–21 Federal/Provincial/Territorial Health Ministers Meeting in Vancouver. The six key principles are universality, national scope, broad inclusivity, therapeutic options, timely access, and collaboration (as defined below).

  • Universality – Prescription medications have become an essential part of many treatment regimes, with their potential to improve patient outcomes and save lives while bringing economic value to the health care system. All Canadians have a right to access medically necessary medications, and our programs must include this integral aspect of treatment in a consistent fashion across all jurisdictions.
  • National scope – A system for all Canadians to ensure equitable and consistent access to medicines must be national in scope, regardless of whether there is central administration or the current structure of provincial/territorial health care delivery. If delivered regionally, then pharmaceutical care must be portable throughout the country and national standards are required to ensure equity for all Canadians, no matter where they live.
  • Broad inclusivity – There should be no limits placed on the types of conditions covered within any Canadian pharmacare program framework. All programs must be comprehensive and inclusive of all chronic, episodic, or acute conditions, regardless of incidence.
  • Therapeutic options – Canadians have a right to a high standard of pharmaceutical treatment, with access to a secure supply of a full array of approved medications, including both long- standing compounds and more recently approved advancements. Likewise, the concept of “the right medication at the right time” must be a central premise, enabling patients to benefit from those medications most appropriate for them.

    Programs must offer a range of medicines, which provide therapeutic options, so that treatment is not limited to a narrow selection of drugs within a particular class, since individual – even small – variations affect patient response and outcomes. Likewise, programs must be inclusive of all types of medication formats (e.g., oral, intravenous) and delivery systems.

  • Timely access – Extended wait times to receive medically necessary pharmaceutical treatments are unacceptable. Access delayed is access denied and so leaders must ensure that efficiency and timeliness be entrenched within any pharmacare framework including the review, assessment, and reimbursement processes.
  • Collaboration – Whether pursued nationally, in a pan-Canadian framework, or regionally, Canadians need significant pharmaceutical policy reform that involves full consultation with all stakeholders and careful consideration of options and implications. While this process is underway, decision-makers and drug program leaders have a responsibility to continue to use current policy, program, and budgetary options to address specific pharmacare challenges, which directly affect the lives of patients.

The Principles reflect the shared vision of BMC’s 23 member organizations (including Arthritis Consumer Experts) which represent a large cross-section of the Canadian patient community, including arthritis, gastrointestinal disease, HIV/AIDS, cancer and others. The Principles have been provided to all Health Ministers to support the BMC’s call for making pharmaceutical reform a priority and to ensure that patient voices are heard.

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Gift-giving for adults and children with arthritis

Boxed gifts or variety sizesGetting the perfect Christmas or New Year’s gift for an adult or child with arthritis requires some thoughtful thinking. Things you may consider before you purchase your gift include:

  • How long have they had the disease for?
  • What is their lifestyle like?
  • Do they live alone or with family and friends?
  • Do they work or go to school?
  • What do they like to do?
  • What type of arthritis do they have?
  • What treatment therapy are they on?

Here are some gift ideas to help lessen the burden of arthritis on everyday life. If you are trying to be a #GreenAngel and want to create memories, not garbage, note the gift ideas with the hashtag symbol beside them.  For those on your list who works with arthritis: Continue reading

“It hurts!” cried the little kid with arthritis

Kid on grass crawling with a puzzled lookThe question is, how badly does it hurt?

A recent study conducted to evaluate pain measures developed by the Patient Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System (PROMIS) under the National Institutes of Health help captured the young patient’s perspective of living with chronic pain. The study addressed the different categories of pain experience and language used by children when they talk about chronic pain. In an interview with the Medical Xpress, researchers identified these as:

  • Pain behaviour – The child initiates he or she becomes irritable or suffers a lack of appetite (or other behaviour) when in pain.
  • Pain interference – The child describes slower movement, such as walking, or lack of energy due to pain interference.
  • Pain quality – The child describes pain as sharp, cutting, dull or achy.

The research study was based on the results of individual and focus group interviews with 32 children and with parents of children with chronic pain, such as those affected by juvenile arthritis, sickle cell anemia, and cerebral palsy. Continue reading

JointHealth™ mensuel – décembre 2015 : la fiche-rapport

La fiche-rapport JointHealth™ sur les médicaments contre l’arthrite 

Comment se classe votre province ?

French Report Card Image
Tout au long de la dernière année, le comité ACE a surveillé en permanence les progrès scientifiques et les avancées dans la mise au point de nouveaux médicaments susceptibles d’affecter la qualité de vie des personnes atteintes d’arthrite. En résumant et en classant ces nouveaux médicaments, la fiche-rapport JointHealth™ sur les médicaments contre l’arthrite aide les Canadiennes et Canadiens de même que leurs rhumatologues à évaluer la performance de leur province en matière de remboursement des médicaments approuvés dans le traitement des formes auto-immunes d’arthrite.

Une meilleure compréhension de la polythérapie permet aux personnes arthritiques de mener une vie plus saine et plus productive. Afin d’aider les consommateurs atteints d’arthrite à faire le plein de renseignements dont ils ont besoin pour bien se préparer à en parler avec leur professionnel de la santé, le numéro de décembre du Mensuel JointHealth™ traite des sujets suivants :

  • Nouveaux médicaments à l’horizon
  • Discussion d’un bout à l’autre du pays sur un programme national d’assurance-médicaments
  • Agissez maintenant pour améliorer la liste des médicaments remboursés par le régime public de votre province

Que peuvent faire des patients comme vous ? Continue reading

JointHealth™ monthly – December 2015: The Report Card

The JointHealth™ Arthritis Medications Report Card

How does your province compare?
Picture of Report Card


During the last year, Arthritis Consumer Experts continuously monitored scientific and medication treatment advances that have the potential to affect the lives of those living with arthritis. The JointHealth™ Arthritis Medications Report Card summarizes and ranks these medication treatment advances and helps Canadians and their rheumatologists identify how their province measures up to other provinces in terms of providing reimbursement access to medications approved for autoimmune forms of arthritis.

The understanding of combination medication therapy allows people with arthritis to live healthier, more productive lives. To help prepare the arthritis consumer with the information they need to talk to their healthcare provider, this issue of JointHealth™monthly will also look at:

  • New arthritis medications on the horizon
  • The coast-to-coast discussion about a national pharmacare program
  • Take action now to improve your province’s drug formulary ranking

What can patients like you do? Continue reading