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Important medication for juvenile arthritis returns to market

When naproxen suspension was discontinued, The Arthritis Society and other stakeholders orchestrated a solution

MONTREAL - March 26, 2015

When a common medication used by children with arthritis was suddenly discontinued in Canada, The Arthritis Society collaborated with the Canadian Rheumatology Association (CRA) and other stakeholders to orchestrate a solution.

Naprosyn® (naproxen) suspension – the most common non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) used to treat the pain, swelling and stiffness of juvenile idiopathic arthritis – was the only liquid form of naproxen available in Canada. The liquid form allows for ease of administration for children, who have difficulty swallowing tablets, and for appropriate dosing based on the child’s weight.

“Children are dealt a tough hand if they develop arthritis,” said Joanne Simons, chief mission officer of The Arthritis Society. “Managing their day-to-day health means accessing the medication they need, when they need it. We are pleased that the arthritis community came together to find a solution that works.”

The Arthritis Society, CRA, Association des médecins rhumatologues du Québec, Ontario Rheumatology Association, Health Canada, drug companies and Canadian pediatric rheumatologists collaborated to bring naproxen suspension back to market:
  • In November 2013, Hoffmann-La Roche Limited (Roche) announces that Naprosyn® suspension will be withdrawn from the Canadian market.
  • Stakeholders, including The Arthritis Society, work on possible solutions to keep the drug available through other means. A key figure is Dr. Rosie Scuccimarri, rheumatologist at the Montreal Children’s Hospital and chair of the CRA’s Pediatric Committee.
  • The Arthritis Society links a Quebec-based compounding pharmacy with pediatric rheumatologists to create naproxen from base ingredients. 
  • By March 2014, the drug is available again in Quebec, covered under special exemption by public payer RAMQ. This temporary measure ensures that patients can access their treatment while a permanent solution is sought.
  • In July 2014, Quebec-based Pediapharm buys the Canadian manufacturing rights from Roche to begin producing naproxen in its liquid form. It would still take, though, many months to reach the Canadian market.
  • In the meantime, Roche and Pediapharm worked together with the CRA to ensure that physicians could access the drug for their patients through a European manufacturer via Health Canada’s Special Access Program.
  • Finally, in March 2015, the drug becomes fully available for Canadian children with arthritis under the name Pediapharm Naproxen Suspension.
“Bringing naproxen suspension back to market required the collaboration of various parties who stepped forward to find a solution,” says Dr. Rosie Scuccimarri. “This is an advocacy success story and great news for Canadian children with arthritis.”

March is Childhood Arthritis Month. Visit for details.

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 nearly $190 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
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For further information or to arrange an interview, please contact:

Jeff Jurmain 
National Communications Specialist – The Arthritis Society
416-979-3348 x3354 Back to News