Manitoba makes HIV prevention pill, new cystic fibrosis drug eligible for provincial coverage
The Manitoba government is adding two new drugs to its drug list, qualifying them for coverage for people who meet provincial eligibility criteria.
HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) – a pill according to studies can significantly reduce the risk of HIV transmission – and Trikafta, a new triple-combination drug for cystic fibrosis, will now be eligible for coverage, the report said. Health Minister Audrey Gordon at a press conference Friday.
WATCH | Trikafta could significantly improve the patient’s life:
People will be eligible if they are covered by pharmacare – Manitoba’s pharmacare program, which is based on either total family income or the amount paid for eligible drugs – or if they receive a prescription. health coverage through employment and income assistance.
“Adding these two drugs to the provincial formulary will dramatically change the lives of Manitobans living with cystic fibrosis or at risk of exposure to HIV,” said Gordon.
The change came about because of Manitoba’s participation in the Pan-Canadian Pharmaceutical Alliance, she said.
Nine Circles Community Health Center Executive Director Mike Payne said including PrEP on the list of drugs eligible for coverage would be a “game changer” for those at risk of contracting HIV.
“I have no doubt that there are people I would have met at Nine Circles as part of the Manitoba HIV program that I will never meet in the next two years due to this change. policy, ”said Payne, whose health and social services agency supports people living with the virus.
Doctors who wish to provide PrEP must register to do so. More information on how to do this is available on the province’s website. Detailed eligibility for treatment and other information is also available in line.
Trikafta changed the life of a son with cystic fibrosis: mother
Patti Tweed said Trikafta has been life-changing for many people with cystic fibrosis who have been able to access the new drug through means like private insurance, including her 38-year-old son.
“There are some of us who have prayed every day for this day, for this announcement,” said Tweed, who is also a member of the Cystic Fibrosis Canada volunteer advocacy group.
The disease causes thick mucus to build up in the body, which can lead to chronic respiratory infections, digestive problems, and other complications.
According to Cystic Fibrosis Canada, research suggests that Trikafta – which attacks the disease at its root by repairing the defective protein that causes mucus to build up – may reduce serious lung disease in 60 percent of people, increase life expectancy and reduce deaths by 15 percent by the end of the decade.
The drug was approved by Health Canada in June for use in people 12 years of age and older, who have at least one genetic mutation that causes cystic fibrosis.
Payne and Tweed said the two drug additions were the result of years of advocacy work. Now that they have been added, more work is needed to ensure that the drugs actually get to the people who need them.
“This will only work if people are aware of the opportunity,” Payne said, encouraging health care providers who have not yet done so to learn about PrEP early so they can make sure that patients who could benefit from the drug get it. .
He said the preventive daily pill has been available for years and has shown a 20-30% reduction in new cases in other areas that have introduced coverage for it.
So far, it has only been accessible to Manitobans who can afford it, and new HIV infections in the province are among the highest in Canada, with more than 100 new cases per year, he said. he declares.
“Our epidemiology clearly shows that most of the communities most at risk of contracting HIV are those least likely to pay for PrEP,” Payne said, adding that infections are growing disproportionately among Indigenous and black people, homosexuals and young people in general. .
Although the update comes too late for some diagnosed with CF, Tweed said it’s still something to celebrate.
“It is for these people that we have had the will and the determination to make our story heard,” said Tweed.
“It took too long for complex access systems to catch up with science, but we’re celebrating today. A huge goal has been achieved in Manitoba.