Arthritis Foundation Statement on Methotrexate Access

As a result of the Supreme Court’s decision overturning Roe v. Wade, arthritis patients have reported difficulty accessing methotrexate, a drug commonly used for inflammatory autoimmune arthritis. Read what the Arthritis Foundation is doing to protect arthritis patients.

On June 24, 2022 the U.S. Supreme Court issued a historic decision overturning Roe v. Wade, declaring that the right to an abortion is no longer federally protected by the right to privacy. This ruling returned the decision to regulate abortion, including many fundamental reproductive health-care decisions, back to the states, and without any federal constitutional standards.

As an organization committed to improving the lives of people with arthritis and their families, the Arthritis Foundation recognizes that this decision will significantly impact the arthritis community and is likely to disproportionately affect the uninsured, under-insured and communities of color.

In anticipation of such a ruling, more than 20 states passed laws (also known as “trigger laws”) intended to criminalize abortions, with at least six additional states’ laws going into effect since the decision. Many of these state laws specifically list certain medications as “abortion-inducing drugs,” which bans their use without necessarily distinguishing by condition or diagnosis. One of these drugs is methotrexate, a well-established FDA-approved therapy with a long track record of safety and effectiveness often used to treat inflammatory arthritis and other autoimmune conditions and, at much higher doses, cancer. Methotrexate is also medically indicated for treating a patient after an early pregnancy loss, including ectopic pregnancy and miscarriage.

Most commonly, methotrexate is prescribed to treat rheumatoid arthritis (RA) but may also be prescribed for axial spondyloarthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, psoriatic arthritis, lupus, Sjogren’s vasculitis, juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA), and other related conditions. In some states where laws banning or severely restricting abortion have already taken effect, some arthritis patients are reporting difficulty filling their methotrexate prescriptions.

The Arthritis Foundation has a long history of advocating for comprehensive access to high-quality health care services and medications. We believe health care should be individualized and patient-centered, and we advocate for joint medical decision-making in the provider-patient relationship. As such, the Arthritis Foundation supports unencumbered access to and coverage of FDA-approved drugs for managing arthritis in alignment with scientific and clinical guidelines, as well as evidence-based medical recommendations.

We are committed to fighting for all people who live with arthritis while championing the fight to conquer arthritis with life-changing science, resources, advocacy, and community connections. We are quickly and actively engaging with many of our partner organizations, patient advocates, pharmaceutical industry and pharmacy partners, as well as federal and state governments to determine the best next steps to take to address this issue.

We Want to Hear from You

If you’re having trouble getting your medication, we want to know. We offer one-on-one support through our toll-free Helpline staffed by a licensed clinical social worker and trained staff, including a Spanish-speaking expert. You may remain anonymous. We fully respect your right to privacy. And if you have experienced trouble getting your methotrexate prescription filled, please contact us at 1-800-283-7800.