Saturday, March 28, 2009

Province’s funding of rheumatoid arthritis treatment welcomed

From the Grande Prairie (AB) Daily Herald Tribune:
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) sufferers in Alberta will soon be able to share in some joint relief.

As of April 1, the drug Rituximab will be covered by Alberta Health Care Insurance Plan for rheumatoid arthritis patients who meet “special authorization criteria.”

Sandy Ursel, a Pincher Creek, Alta.-resident, was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis more than five years ago, and Rituximab is the only drug that has brought relief from the illness’s symptoms. Until now, Alberta funded the drug for the treatment of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, but not RA. Alberta and P.E.I. were the only two provinces that did not cover Rituximab as a treatment for RA, leaving Ursel to worry she would have to cover the cost on her own.

“One treatment costs approximately $19,000, and that’s actually two treatments in succession, two weeks apart,” she said. ...more

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