Elizabeth from Australia asks: I have rheumatoid arthritis and have been on traditional DMARDs.  My rheumatologist is now considering a biologic DMARD, but they are expensive.  In Alberta, how are biologic DMARDs paid for?  What is the wait time to a see a rheumatologist in Alberta?

Biologic DMARDs are very expensive, with most costing approximately $20,000 annually.  Alberta Health does not subsidize this cost directly, but currently, every Albertan is eligible to pay for medication insurance that would reduce out of pocket costs for biologics by about 90%.  For most patients in Alberta, rheumatologists and their team are able to work with patients to find a way to get the medications they need to ensure their health.

Wait times to see a rheumatologist vary in Alberta between Calgary and Edmonton, and even among rheumatologists.  However, most rheumatologists want to see patients with inflammatory arthritis within 3 months of a referral.

Posted: February 12, 2015

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