New cystic fibrosis drug will soon be covered in B.C., government says

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A newly-developed treatment option for cystic fibrosis will soon be covered for people living in B.C., according to the ministry of health.

Trikafta is a triple-combination medication used for the treatment of cystic fibrosis in patients 12 and older, according to a release from the province. It has been shown to slow progression of the disease, improve lung function and increase the median age of survival for a child born with cystic fibrosis by almost nine years, the province said.

“We’re thrilled the province will provide access to Trikafta for hundreds of patients in B.C.,” said Christine Black, B.C. advocate lead, Cystic Fibrosis Canada BC. “Some patients with cystic fibrosis can’t take long walks or even laugh without coughing and trying to catch their breath. With the province’s actions, they’ll be able to enjoy activities many of us take for granted.”

As a new treatment option, Trikafta was accepted for priority review with Health Canada and received a favourable final recommendation by the Canadian Agency for Drugs and Technologies in Health on Aug. 30.

The province said the treatment will be covered through the B.C. Expensive Drugs for Rare Diseases (EDRD) process and is expected to benefit about 400 British Columbians. Through the EDRD process, patients are able to access high-cost drugs for rare conditions on a case-by-case basis, according to the province.

Cystic fibrosis, which affects around 500 people in B.C., is a genetic disease that largely affects a person’s lungs, but also the pancreas, liver, kidneys and intestines. Long-term challenges can include respiratory difficulties and complications, including frequently decreasing lung function.

The B.C. government also recently announced it will launch a first-in-Canada health improvement network called Cystic Fibrosis Care BC (CFCBC).

“Our new Cystic Fibrosis Care BC program will make a big difference in the lives of hundreds of people in B.C. who are living with this disease,” said Adrian Dix, minister of health. “This network will change the way cystic fibrosis care is provided in B.C. by linking care across the province to make it easier for patients to access specialists across disciplines.”

The Provincial Health Services Authority launched CFCBC in partnership with Cystic Fibrosis Canada.

Approximately one in every 3,600 children born in Canada has cystic fibrosis, according to the province.

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