Ontario approves cystic fibrosis drug with power to ‘transform’ lives

Health Canada approved the use of the drug in June

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An announcement from the Ontario government that it would provide coverage for cystic fibrosis (CF) treatment Trikafta was a long time coming.

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The Toronto Sun’s Liz Braun has written for several years about the need for improved access to desperately needed medication, including Trikafta, for people with CF.

“We wrote earlier this year about Ontario CF patient Victoria Vigneau, who has a prescription for ORKAMBI but can’t fill it,” Braun wrote in an article that ran almost two years ago. “She has no private insurance to pay for it. Victoria is now back in hospital, something ORKAMBI could have helped her avoid.”

The head of the Canadian Cystic Fibrosis Treatment Society (CCFTS) had been pleading with Prime Minister Trudeau and provincial premiers to act on an emergency basis and allow access to gene modulators Kalydeco, Orkambi, Symdeko and Trikafta, Braun wrote.

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The plea went directly to Ontario Health Minister Christine Elliott, who won a Rare Disease Leadership Award in the past.

On Friday, the provincial government said it would now fund Trikafta, in addition to Orkambi and Kalydeco, through the Exceptional Access Program (EAP).

Health Canada approved the use of the drug in June.

Kelly Grover, president and CEO of Cystic Fibrosis Canada, described the medication in a statement as “the single greatest innovation in cystic fibrosis history … it has the power to transform the lives of thousands of Canadians.”

Premier Doug Ford tweeted after the announcement, “Great news! Ontario is now providing coverage for #Trikafta, the latest & most effective treatment option for #CysticFibrosis, under its publicly-funded drug program. This will improve access to lifechanging treatments for patients across Ontario.”

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