December 18th, 2019

// Rituximab as a Treatment for Patients With Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL)

AbbVie reaches an agreement with the pan-Canadian Pharmaceutical Alliance (pCPA) for the Combination VENCLEXTA® With Rituximab as a Treatment for Patients With Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL)

  • Following the signing of an agreement between AbbVie and the pan-Canadian Pharmaceutical Alliance (pCPA)i, Quebec is the first province to reimburse the combination treatment. 
  • VENCLEXTA® + rituximab is a regimen that includes a targeted oral agent that should be continued for two years after initial five weeks ramp-up phase. 

MONTREAL, Dec. 18, 2019 /CNW/ - AbbVie (NYSE: ABBV), a global research and development-based biopharmaceutical company, today announced that an agreement has been reached with the pan-Canadian Pharmaceutical Alliance (pCPA) for VENCLEXTA® in combination with rituximab, a treatment for patients with Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL) who have received at least one prior therapy. 

"VENCLEXTA in combination with rituximab is an effective treatment option. VENCLEXTA plus rituximab also have the benefit of a finite treatment approach, meaning patients can stop their therapy after two years of treatment and continue to benefit," said Dr. Sarit Assouline MD, MSc, FRCPC, Senior Investigator, Lady Davis Institute, Associate Professor, Department of Oncology, McGill University. "It's great news that patients in Quebec will now have access to this treatment."

On the Régie de l'assurance maladie du Québec's Liste des médicaments, VENCLEXTA is listed in combination with rituximab, for the treatment of relapsed or refractory chronic lymphocytic leukemia in patients who have received at least one prior therapy.ii For full criteria, consult the list of medications in effect.

"The pCPA agreement for VENCLEXTA plus rituximab is positive news for Canadians living with CLL," says Elizabeth Lye, Director of Research & Programs, Lymphoma Canada. "Receiving a diagnosis of CLL or any cancer is always shocking and overwhelming, therefore knowing that there are effective treatments available provides reassurance to people facing this uncertain journey."

CLL, which is typically a slow-progressing cancer of the bone marrow and bloodiii, is one of the most common types of leukemia in adults. In Canada, CLL accounts for approximately 1,745 newly diagnosed cases of leukemia each year and is responsible for more than 600 deaths a year.iv

"We are thrilled with the positive outcome of our discussions with the pan-Canadian Pharmaceutical Alliance and that Quebec is the first province to list VENCLEXTA in combination with rituximab. We are looking forward to making this treatment available to all Canadians across the country," says Stéphane Lassignardie, Vice-President and General Manager, Abbvie Canada. "With a strong commitment to developing innovative therapies for patients and contributing to longer-term healthcare sustainability, AbbVie is committed to providing solutions that bring significant clinical and economic value to patients, healthcare practitioners and our healthcare system."

VENCLEXTA continues to be investigated in CLL and other hematological diseases. VENCLEXTA is being developed by AbbVie and Roche. It is jointly commercialized by AbbVie and Genentech, a member of the Roche Group, in the U.S. and by AbbVie outside of the U.S.

About the MURANO Study
A total of 389 patients with relapse / refractory (R/R) CLL who had received at least one prior therapy were enrolled in the international, multicenter, open-label, randomized (1:1) MURANO study (NCT02005471). The study was designed to evaluate the efficacy and safety of VENCLEXTA in combination with rituximab (194 patients) compared with bendamustine in combination with rituximab (195 patients). The median age of patients in the trial was 65 years (range 22-85).v  The MURANO study is unique in its design with the intention for patients to stop therapy after 24 months.

About AbbVie Care
Canadians prescribed VENCLEXTA can be enrolled in AbbVie Care, AbbVie's signature care program. The program is designed to provide a wide range of customized services including reimbursement and financial support, pharmacy services, lab work reminders and coordination, personalized education and ongoing disease management support throughout the treatment. For more information, please visit  

About AbbVie
AbbVie is a global, research and development-driven biopharmaceutical company committed to developing innovative advanced therapies for some of the world's most complex and critical conditions. The company's mission is to use its expertise, dedicated people and unique approach to innovation to markedly improve treatments across four primary therapeutic areas: immunology, oncology, virology and neuroscience. In more than 75 countries, AbbVie employees are working every day to advance health solutions for people around the world. For more information about AbbVie, please visit us at and Follow @abbvieCanada and @abbvie on Twitter or view careers on our Facebook or LinkedIn page.

i Pan-Canadian Pharmaceutical Alliance: Completed Negotiations. As of October 31, 2019. Accessed December 2019.
ii Régie de l'assurance maladie du Québec. Liste des médicaments. Accessed December 2019. 
iii Lymphoma Canada. Chronic lymphocytic leukemia. Accessed December 2019.
iv Canadian Cancer Statistics. Chronic lymphocytic leukemia statistics. Accessed December 2019. 
v VENCLEXTA product monograph, AbbVie Corporation. Date of Preparation: September 27, 2016. Date of Revision: December 2, 2019. Accessed December 2019.

SOURCE AbbVie Canada


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