Accessing Necessary Arthritis Medications: A Pan-Canadian Analysis

The Conference Board of Canada, 45 pages, February 5, 2020
Impact Paper by , ,
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While arthritis affects nearly one in five Canadian adults, their access to vital medications varies widely across the country. This impact paper highlights discrepancies in arthritis drug coverage across provinces, jurisdictions, and insurance plans.

Document Highlights

  • Canadians spent $1.9 billion on 16.5 million claims for arthritis drugs in 2017.
  • Some medically necessary drugs are virtually unaffordable for those without private insurance, due to high out-of-pocket costs.
  • Public access to new and innovative arthritis medications is limited. While private programs have access to all 79 medications used to treat arthritis, public programs provide access to 72.
  • Canadians spent $1.9 billion on 16.5 million claims for arthritis drugs in 2017.
  • Some type of health system reform is needed to improve the access, affordability, and consistency in coverage of arthritis drugs across the country.
  • Table of Contents

    Section 1-Arthritis in Canada

    • Treatment options are often tailored to the individual
    • The range of public and private drug insurance in Canada
    • Drug availability

    Section 2—Results and analysis

    • Variances in drug costs
    • Access depends on where you live
    • Variances in access to arthritis drugs
    • Public coverage lags behind private insurance programs

    Section 3—Conclusions, discussion, and policy implications

    Appendix A—Methodology

    Appendix B—Multiple indication rates

    Appendix C—Active ingredients in arthritis medications

    Appendix D—Arthritis active ingredients unique to private payers, 2017

    Appendix E—Public plans by province

    Appendix F—Bibliography

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