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Expanded drug coverage will help thousands of people in B.C. and save money

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Thousands of people in British Columbia will benefit from BC PharmaCare’s new and expanded coverage of medications used to treat alcohol-use disorder, vision loss, childhood growth failure and lysosomal acid lipase deficiency.

Millions of dollars in savings are expected with the listing of a generic drug used for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis and ulcerative colitis.

As of April 20, 2023, drug coverage for two medications used to treat alcohol-use disorder, acamprosate and naltrexone, will have been expanded from limited coverage to a regular benefit. Both medications are taken by mouth and reduce the need to drink alcohol. The changes will benefit approximately 3,500 people.

Three new medications are now covered by PharmaCare. They are mecasermin (Increlex) as of April 27, 2023, sebelipase alfa (Kanuma) as of April 5, 2023, and voretigene neparvovec (Luxturna) as of Feb. 28, 2023.

Mecasermin (Increlex) is an injection used to treat growth failure in children and adolescents with confirmed severe primary insulin-like growth factor-1 deficiency (SPIGFD). In the first year of implementation, coverage is expected to benefit one patient.

Voretigene neparvovec (Luxturna) is used to treat vision loss due to inherited retinal dystrophy caused by confirmed biallelic RPE65 mutations for people who have sufficient viable retinal cells. The condition causes progressive visual dysfunction and blindness in some cases. Coverage is expected to benefit four people in the first year.

Kanuma (sebelipase alfa) is a medication used to treat lysosomal acid lipase deficiency (LAL-D), a condition that makes it difficult to break down and use fats and cholesterol, is administered as an infusion by a health-care professional. Coverage is expected to benefit one patient every two to three years.

On April 6, 2023, tofacitinib generics, used to treat rheumatoid arthritis and ulcerative colitis, were added to PharmaCare's approved drug listing. Switching from the brand name product to the generics is estimated to save up to $9 million a year and affect approximately 1,500 people.

These changes ensure that coverage is aligned with clinical evidence and will improve patient access to appropriate medications.

Learn More:

To learn more about BC PharmaCare, visit: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/health/health-drug-coverage/pharmacare-for-bc-residents

To learn more about the new drug listings, visit: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/health/health-drug-coverage/pharmacare-for-bc-residents/drug-review-process-results/drug-review-decisions

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  • Date

    May 15, 2023

  • By

    Government of BC


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