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.
|Areas of Focus
Input to CADTH reviews and/or
reports (e.g., first-line [1L] DMT
- 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
Planning for input to CADTH’s 1L report expected in
Planning for CADTH – CNMSC leadership meeting in
Leverage learnings from Ontario
MS initiative to modernize access
criteria and improve access
processes for MS medications in
Engagement of staff at Alberta Health (3 meetings to
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 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-
- Scoping review on-going
ACTRIMS abstract submission Fall 2023 (for
February 2024 meeting)
Development of decision-maker engagement strategy
Publication of pediatric scoping review and DMT
access survey planned for 2024
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: https://cnmsc.ca/Home/DrugAccessWorkingGroupProject).
Engagement of a wide range of CNMSC members from across the country on medication access
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.