Arthritis Society and Lilly mark World Arthritis Day by announcing partnership to help people with rheumatoid arthritis thrive

October 12, 2016

Patient consultations among initiatives announced as part of whole-health agenda

TORONTO – October 12, 2016 – Today is World Arthritis Day, and The Arthritis Society and Eli Lilly Canada (Lilly) are marking the occasion by announcing a strategic partnership to develop and advance a series of initiatives focused on patient-centric care for people living with rheumatoid arthritis (RA).

The first year of the partnership will feature patient consultations, national health symposia, and quality of life research, all aimed at putting the lived experience front and centre in decision-making processes around RA management.

“Chronic disease, especially an aggressive disease like rheumatoid arthritis, informs and influences every aspect of your life,” says Janet Yale, President and CEO of The Arthritis Society. “The patient is the only person who can see the totality of their experience, and the ways the disease affects them. That’s why patients and their needs must be put at the centre of all decision-making processes, from disease management to research priorities to resource planning. We are proud to partner with Lilly to help bring the patient’s voice front and center for RA in Canada.”

The initiatives are part of Lilly’s whole-health agenda.

“Our focus is always on the whole person,” explains Lisa Matar, President and General Manager of Eli Lilly Canada, “not just disease treatment. With The Arthritis Society’s support we will build a comprehensive view of the experience of life with RA, in all its facets. We will then identify ways we can contribute to making life better for people who are living with rheumatoid arthritis.”

Patient consultations are already underway. At an RA patient panel in Toronto this week, people living with RA will share their experiences, challenges and victories with senior staff from both organizations.

“I recently had the opportunity to sit down at length with Annette McKinnon, who has been a great and longstanding advocate for people with RA, to gain her insights into life with this disease,” Matar explains. “It was an eye-opening experience: the way she and others need to account for their RA in almost every decision is hard to imagine. That’s an understanding we want to embed in our organization, starting with what we as an employer can do to improve the working experiences of employees living with RA and other chronic diseases. Tomorrow’s panel will help kick-start that process.”

“It’s exciting to see this level of engagement and patient focus from an industry partner,” says Yale. “Over the course of the coming year, we will be working together to challenge the ways that we look at this disease, and identifying solutions so that people with RA can do more than just survive – they can thrive.”

Rheumatoid arthritis is the most prevalent form of inflammatory arthritis, affecting roughly 1% of Canadians, or an estimated 370,000 people.  Two thirds of these are women.

About The Arthritis Society

The Arthritis Society has been setting lives in motion for over 65 years. Dedicated to a vision of living well while creating a future without arthritis, The Society is Canada’s principal health charity providing education, programs and support to the over 4.6 million Canadians living with arthritis. Since its founding in 1948, The Society has been the largest non-government funder of arthritis research in Canada, investing over $195 million in projects that have led to breakthroughs in the diagnosis, treatment and care of people with arthritis. The Arthritis Society is accredited under Imagine Canada’s Standards Program.  For more information and to make a donation, visit

About Eli Lilly Canada

Eli Lilly and Company is a global healthcare leader that unites caring with discovery to make life better for people around the world. We were founded more than a century ago by Colonel Eli Lilly, who was committed to creating high quality medicines that meet people’s needs, and today we remain true to that mission in all our work. Lilly employees work to discover and bring life-changing medicines to those who need them, improve the understanding and management of disease, and contribute to our communities through philanthropy and volunteerism.

Eli Lilly Canada was established in 1938, the result of a research collaboration with scientists at the University of Toronto which eventually produced the world’s first commercially-available insulin. Lilly Canada now employs more than 400 people across the country, working in the areas of oncology, diabetes, autoimmunity, neurodegeneration, and pain. To learn more about Lilly Canada, please visit us at

- 30 -

For further information or to arrange an interview, please contact:

Douglas Emerson
National Communications Manager
The Arthritis Society
416-979-7228 x3348

Jane Lee Cheung
Manager, Communications
Eli Lilly Canada Inc.

View All Media Releases

World Arthritis Day 2016

Highlights from Lisa Matar’s conversation with rheumatoid arthritis patient and advocate Annette McKinnon (2:20)