Accomplishments: CNMSC Drug Access Working Group Project


In 2022, the Canadian Network of Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Clinics (CNMSC) launched an initiative aimed at improving access to MS medications for people living with MS (PLWMS) at both a national as well as a provincial level. MS Canada is a key partner in this initiative, helping to ensure that the voice of PLWMS is a consistent part of the dialogue with decision makers.

The project is sponsored through unrestricted grants from: Biogen Canada Inc., EMD Serono Inc., Novartis Pharmaceuticals Inc., Hoffman-LaRoche Limited, and Sanofi Genzyme Inc. This funding provides support for the research, analysis, engagement, and project management requirements to ensure the success of this initiative.

What are the goals of the project?

  • To provide timely MS clinician expert input and/or feedback to health technology assessment (HTA) bodies (i.e., CADTH1 and/or INESSS2) regarding disease modifying therapy (DMT) approvals/use for PLWMS and related demyelinating disorders;
  • To advocate for alignment of provincial criteria re: DMT access; and,
  • To improve access for children living with MS to DMTs across Canada.

What has been accomplished to date?

The work of this project has moved forward under three pillars, and the accomplishments associated with each thus far (i.e., to June 2023) outlined below.

Pillar Areas of Focus Accomplishments
  • Input to CADTH reviews and/or reports (e.g., first-line [1L] DMT review3 )
  • Engagement of CADTH
  • CNMSC input to CADTH 1L review (February 2022)
  • General outreach letter to CADTH, to introduce CNMSC and lobby for clinician involvement in 1L review (January 2023)
  • Invitation from CADTH for CNMSC member to participate on review team for 1L review (January 2023)
  • Planning for input to CADTH’s 1L report expected in Summer 2023
  • Planning for CADTH – CNMSC leadership meeting in Fall 2023
  • Leverage learnings from Ontario MS initiative to modernize access criteria and improve access processes for MS medications in other provinces
  • Engagement of staff at Alberta Health (3 meetings to date)
  • Leveraging MS medication access analysis carried out for MS Canada to identify opportunities to improve patient access to medications
  • Proposal submitted to Alberta Health expert committee to consider extension of renewal periods for MS medications
  • Engagement of SK clinician interested in working with SK government on renewal periods issue
Pediatric access
  • Pediatric Working Group survey of pediatric DMT access and/or challenges across Canada
  • Scoping review of uptake of DMTs in children and adolescents with MS in Canada and Internationally
  • Pediatric DMT access survey completed; analysis on- going
  • Scoping review on-going
  • ACTRIMS abstract submission Fall 2023 (for February 2024 meeting)
  • Development of decision-maker engagement strategy Fall 2023
  • Publication of pediatric scoping review and DMT access survey planned for 2024

Other Accomplishments

In addition to the specific accomplishments achieved for the 3 pillars of activity identified for the project, there have been several additional tangible outcomes as well as intangible benefits attained:

  • Creation of a website to communicate updates on the status of the CNMSC Drug Access Working Group Project (see:
  • Engagement of a wide range of CNMSC members from across the country on medication access related issues.
  • Engagement of and creation of new relationships with key decision-makers with national as well as provincial organizations.
  • While engagement with medication access decision makers is a new focus for CNMSC’s work, it is providing opportunities to improve patient care as well as showcase the expertise and research of CNMSC members across the country.

Continuing work under this initiative

The first year of the Drug Access Working Group Project has seen good progress on a number of fronts. Activities in the coming year will emphasize provincial and/or national decision-maker engagement, both directly and thorough future collaborative initiatives (e.g., with MS Canada, CADTH, etc.) to raise the issue of timely and equitable MS medication access for all Canadians.

Project sponsors

Sanofi Genzyme
EMD Serono