Cosentyx Added to Public Drug Programs Across Canada for Adults with Ankylosing Spondylitis

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by Ana de Barros PhD |

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Ontario, along with other regions in Canada, will now reimburse Cosentyx (secukinumab) under its public drug program for certain adult patients with ankylosing spondylitis (AS) and active psoriatic arthritis (PsA), Novartis Pharmaceuticals Canada recently announced.

In addition to Ontario, Cosentyx will also be available through the public drug plans in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, and Newfoundland and Labrador for the same indication, and for patients covered by the Non-Insured Health Benefit’s (NIHB) Program.

Cosentyx is a human monoclonal antibody that selectively neutralizes circulating interleukin-17A (IL-17A), one of the many proteins, called cytokines, that help protect the body against infections. However, when the levels of this cytokine are not finely tuned, it can have detrimental effects, becoming a key player in a number of immune-mediated diseases.

In Canada, Cosentyx was already approved as a monotherapy or in combination with methotrexate for the treatment of adults with active ankylosing spondylitis who did not respond adequately to previous disease-modifying anti-rheumatic therapies.

“Ankylosing spondylitis and psoriatic arthritis affect people of all ages. They are painful and often progressively debilitating conditions that can lead to irreversible joint damage and can have a major impact on quality of life,” Algis Jovaisas, MD, medical director of Capital North Therapeutics & Research in Ottawa, said in a press release.

“The public reimbursement of Cosentyx in Ontario and many other parts of Canada for these two conditions represents an important milestone for patients and their treating practitioners, enabling us to treat patients earlier in the course of their disease with the goal of preventing damage and long-term disability,” he said.

To date, Cosentyx has been investigated as an AS therapy in 12 clinical trials. Positive data led the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to approve Cosentyx for the treatment of adult patients with ankylosing spondylitis in January 2016. Canadian approval for the same indication followed shortly thereafter.

The U.S. approval was based on the results of two key Phase 3 clinical trials, MEASURE 1 (NCT01358175) and MEASURE 2 (NCT01649375).