Medications for gout and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) from Takeda Canada Inc. are now being covered by the Quebec provincial health plan.

Takeda Canada, Uloric, febuxostat, Dexilant, dexlansoprazole, Quebec, gout, gastroesophageal reflux disease, GERD, provincial formulary, Takeda Pharmaceutical, Régie de l'assurance maladie Quebec

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Takeda drugs for gout, GERD get coverage in Quebec

June 7th, 2011

MISSISSAUGA, Ontario – Medications for gout and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) from Takeda Canada Inc. are now being covered by the Quebec provincial health plan.

Takeda Canada, a division of Japan-based Takeda Pharmaceutical Co., said Tuesday that its gout treatment Uloric (febuxostat) became covered in Quebec effective June 1 and that Dexilant (dexlansoprazole), the company's medication for GERD, has been added to the provincial formulary.

Gout, a form of arthritis, is caused by above-normal levels of serum uric acid in the blood. According to Takeda, the underlying cause of gout is hyperuricemia, or high levels of uric acid in the blood — the key target in the treatment and management of gout. Uloric lowers the level of serum uric acid in the blood by stopping the body from turning purines into uric acid, which can accumulate and form crystals and deposits in the joints. The deposits result in inflammation causing pain, swelling, redness and tenderness of the area. In many people, gout initially attacks the joint of the big toe. Over time, attacks become more frequent and severe and can move into other joints, such as the ankles, knees, heels, wrists, elbows and fingers.

Takeda said it continues to work with officials in other provinces to ensure all Canadians with gout who rely on provincial drug plans will equally have access to Uloric. The drug was approved for use in Canada in September 2010.

Meanwhile, patients in Quebec with GERD now have open access to a new treatment option that offers improved and sustained symptom relief, as the Régie de l'assurance maladie Quebec has put Dexilant on the provincial formulary, according to Takeda.

A proton pump inhibitor (PPI), Dexilant features a Dual-Delayed Release technology for the once-daily treatment of heartburn associated with symptomatic nonerosive gastroesophageal reflux disease, the healing of erosive esophagitis and the maintenance of healed erosive esophagitis, Takeda said. Quebec residents who qualify for the province's Public Prescription Drug Insurance Plan (those 65 and older, recipients of last-resort financial assistance and those who are not covered by private plans) are eligible.

GERD is a chronic condition that affects about a third of the Canadian population and, if left untreated, can result in damage to the esophagus leading to ulcers and bleeding, Takeda reported. It's estimated that GERD sufferers are absent from work 16% of the year because of uncontrolled symptoms, the company noted.

"Takeda is dedicated to developing health care solutions that address the unmet medical needs of patients, and we are thrilled that Quebec has recognized the needs of GERD patients," stated Paul Friel, general manager and president of Takeda Canada. "By adding Dexilant to the provincial formulary, the province is not only helping more patients gain access to this new treatment option, but helping these patients get back to living better lives."