SASKATCHEWAN TO EXPAND ACCESS TO LIFE-CHANGING DRUG TRIKAFTA TO YOUNG CHILDREN
TORONTO, July 18, 2022 – Saskatchewan has announced today that the province will expand access to the revolutionary cystic fibrosis (CF) drug, Trikafta, effective August 1, 2022. The province becomes the latest Canadian jurisdiction to fund the drug for children and adults aged six and older with at least one F508del gene mutation. Ontario, Alberta and Nova Scotia have already made announcements previously announced about the expanded access to Trikafta. Cystic Fibrosis Canada urges provinces and territories who have not yet followed CADTH's recent recommendation to provide Trikafta to immediately fund Trikafta for all who can benefit.
Saskatchewan was one of the first provinces to fund the drug for those 12 years of age and older in 2021 and today, the province continues to recognize Trikafta’s extraordinary, transformative value, by expanding coverage of the drug to include children ages six – 11 years old. Trikafta is considered the single greatest innovation in the history of cystic fibrosis. It can treat up to 90% of Canadians with cystic fibrosis and addresses the underlying causes of the disease instead of just managing the symptoms, potentially preventing irreversible damage caused by this progressive disease.
“This is a day that our community has fought long and hard for. We are pleased with Saskatchewan’s decision and know this will change the trajectory of the disease, and the future, for many children in Saskatchewan who live with cystic fibrosis,” said Dr. John Wallenburg, Chief Scientific Officer, Cystic Fibrosis Canada. “Now, we call on the remaining provinces and territories to move swiftly to cover this drug for those aged six and older and for other jurisdictions that have implemented restrictive start criterion, to fund the drug under CADTH’s new guidance.”
Health Canada approved Trikafta for use in the six to 11 age group in April 2022 and on July 6, 2022, CADTH issued a positive recommendation to fund the drug. This new recommendation from CADTH supersedes the recommendation issued in 2021 for the 12 and older age group, which included a recommendation to implement a restrictive start criterion of a lung function measurement of 90% or less. Following CADTH’s positive recommendation, Ontario and Alberta announced expanded access to the drug and Ontario removed the overly restrictive access criteria, enabling more people in the province to access Trikafta.
"As someone who has been living with Cystic Fibrosis for 62 years and who has been on Trikafta since October 2021- I am overjoyed at the fact that the young CF Warriors between the ages of 6 to 11 will have access to Trikafta. They will be able to live longer, fuller, and healthier lives. They will be able to experience the same improvements in their health like the rest of us.” Lorna McEwan, CF advocate.
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Members of the community and supporters are invited to join Cystic Fibrosis Canada’s #TrikaftaToday briefing on Wednesday, July 20 at 11am MT to discuss the most recent updates related to accessing Trikafta in Canada. Follow this link to register for the briefing.
About cystic fibrosis
Cystic fibrosis is the most common fatal genetic disease affecting 4,332 Canadian children and young adults. There is no cure. Of the Canadians with cystic fibrosis who died in the past five years, half were under the age of 37. Cystic fibrosis is a progressive, degenerative multi-system disease that affects mainly the lungs and digestive system. In the lungs, where the effects are most devastating, a build-up of thick mucus causes severe respiratory problems. Mucus and protein also build up in the digestive tract, making it difficult to digest and absorb nutrients from food. In addition to the physical effects of the disease, mental health concerns are emerging; anxiety and depression are common among this population. Double lung transplants are the final option for patients with end-stage disease; most fatalities of people with CF are due to lung disease.
About Cystic Fibrosis Canada
Cystic Fibrosis Canada has dramatically changed the cystic fibrosis story. We have advanced research and care that has more than doubled life expectancy. Since being founded by parents in 1960, Cystic Fibrosis Canada has grown into a leading organization with a central role engaging people living with cystic fibrosis, parents and caregivers, volunteers, researchers and healthcare professionals, government and donors. We work together to change lives for the 4,332 Canadian children and adults living with cystic fibrosis through treatments, research, information and support. Despite our remarkable progress together, we are not yet done. Not when half of the Canadians with cystic fibrosis who died in the past three years were under the age of 34. We will keep pushing, keep going further until all people with cystic fibrosis can and do experience everything life has to offer —and enjoy everything life has to offer. Learn more at cysticfibrosis.ca.
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Magdelena Oskam, Coordinator, Marketing and Communications