BC increases children’s access to ‘transformational’ drug for cystic fibrosis

BC increases children's access to 'transformational' drug for cystic fibrosis

A week after a family from BC went public with its plea for a life-changing drug for their son with cystic fibrosis (CF), the province announced it is making Trikafta more widely available.

Ten-year-old Oliver Narciso’s lung functions have deteriorated since last year, and his family told Global News they are considering moving to Ontario to access the drug, which “transformational” for CF patients.

Until now, the drug was only covered for patients 12 years and older. Without coverage, the drug costs $25,000 per month.

On Wednesday, the Department of Health announced it would expand coverage for the medication, effective Sept. 13, “based on a recommendation from the Canadian Drug Expert Committee.”

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Trikafta was first listed in September 2021, and the county said the original guidelines required patients to be 12 years of age or older and have a forced expiratory volume (FEV) of less than 90 percent.

It said the guidance has since changed to include a younger cohort, without any requirement.

The changes will expand the eligibility of children ages six to 11 and bring BC in line with other provinces.

“Today’s news will change the trajectory of the disease and its future for many children and adults in British Columbia living with cystic fibrosis,” Kelly Grover, president and CEO of Cystic Fibrosis Canada, said in a press release.

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“We are excited to see that the restrictive starting criterion around lung function has also been removed, allowing more people to access the drug.”

Trikafta is covered by BC’s Expensive Drugs for Rare Diseases process, which gives patients access to expensive drugs on a case-by-case basis.

The health ministry said there are currently about 150 people eligible for the drug, and an additional 185 are expected to be eligible when the criteria are expanded next week.

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