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Summer 2020 (Volume 30, Number 2)

Arthritis Society Tackling COVID-19 Challenges

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The entire world is having to adapt to the demands of the COVID-19 pandemic and the Arthritis Society is no different.

Our patient education resources are helping thousands of Canadians stay on top of their arthritis and cope with the challenges of living through a pandemic, including our COVID-19 and arthritis information page (arthritis.ca/covid-19), our Arthritis Talks webinars (arthritis.ca/arthritistalks) and our weekly flourish newsletters (arthritis.ca/flourish).

At the same time, we have been working in partnership with the CRA and other stakeholders to ensure the needs of people with arthritis are not forgotten.

We’re pleased these efforts are bearing fruit, from the resolution of the hydroxychloroquine shortage, to the designation of medical cannabis as an essential service, to the inclusion of hospital-based researchers in the federal government’s wage subsidy program. These wins are a tribute to the collective will of the arthritis community and our ability to effect critical changes in policy when we work together.

The work doesn’t stop there however, as serious issues remain:

  • Surgery backlog: Some provinces have begun to announce plans to address delayed joint replacement surgeries, but those plans will need funding and coordination, input from patients, and will need to encompass all impacted Canadians.
  • Drug access: Drugs in addition to hydroxychloroquine may be at risk as the pandemic threatens supply chains. As well, many Canadians have lost their jobs and drug benefit plans. It is critical we ensure adequate supply and continued access to necessary medications.
  • Research funding: Researcher wages may be protected, but research funding itself is shrinking. While COVID-related research is a current focus, we cannot forget the importance of sustained investments in health and chronic condition innovations that will impact millions of Canadians.

We are calling on everyone in the arthritis community to ask their elected federal and provincial representatives to find collaborative solutions to these challenges. Find out more and show your support at arthritis.ca/takeaction.

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