British Columbia Becomes Fifth Province to List Miracle Cystic Fibrosis Drug, Trikafta
Cystic Fibrosis Canada calls on Atlantic provinces, Manitoba, and all Territories to save lives and list Trikafta immediately
TORONTO, October 6, 2021 – Cystic Fibrosis Canada welcomes the news that Trikafta, the life-changing drug used to treat cystic fibrosis (CF), is now listed in the province of British Columbia (BC). Patients who are eligible and qualify will have access to Trikafta through BC Pharmacare. Eligibility criteria has not yet been specified by the province. British Columbia joins Alberta, Ontario, Quebec and Saskatchewan, the provinces that have confirmed they will also fund the drug. Cystic Fibrosis Canada is seeking confirmation if the Yukon will be included in the BC funding agreement.
There are still five provinces, including Manitoba, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, that have not yet announced if they will fund this transformational drug. Cystic Fibrosis Canada is awaiting confirmation if Quebec and Ontario governments’ funding of Trikafta will include Canadians with cystic fibrosis in Nunavut and Northwest Territories, as has been the case in the past.
“This is a special day for the CF population in BC and will change lives and the trajectory of the disease for many in this province,” said Dr. John Wallenburg, Chief Scientific Officer, Cystic Fibrosis Canada. “We are pleased that five provinces have seized the opportunity to save lives through providing access to Trikafta. It is our expectation that every province and territory in this country shows that same resolve to stop this disease in its tracks. We call on all Health Ministers and Premiers to bring Trikafta to everyone who can benefit from it, now.”
In addition to listing Trikafta, British Columbia also announced its new health improvement network Cystic Fibrosis Care BC (CFCBC). The network, launched in partnership with Cystic Fibrosis Canada and the Provincial Health Services Authority, will improve the delivery of life long, high-quality and patient-centred care for people living with cystic fibrosis, while making sure that it is inclusive, equitable, and accessible province wide. Ultimately, the goal of the network is to improve the health outcomes of those living with cystic fibrosis.
In June 2021, Health Canada approved the use of Trikafta for people with cystic fibrosis over the age of 12 with at least one F508del mutation, the most common CF-causing mutation. However, the Canadian Agency for Drugs and Technologies in Health (CADTH) later provided narrower guidance on who could be eligible for Trikafta. L’Institut national d'excellence en santé et services sociaux (INESSS) in Quebec made a similar recommendation to CADTH. With one exception, no other jurisdiction in the world has imposed this condition. Fortunately, the recommendations are non-binding; provinces and territories have the power to change the trajectory of this disease and prevent needless suffering and irreparable damage.
While the drug will now be eligible under the BC public drug programs, it is unclear if cystic fibrosis physicians will be empowered to prescribe Trikafta to anyone who falls under Health Canada’s indication, as is the case in Alberta and Saskatchewan, or if the province will follow the CADTH recommendation. The announcements from Ontario and Quebec indicate they are following CADTH’s recommendation and that those who do not meet the narrow criteria may work with their clinician to be considered for funding on a case-by-case basis.
Cystic Fibrosis Canada calls on Manitoba, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, Nunavut, Prince Edward Island, the Northwest Territories and Yukon to quickly fund Trikafta under their own public drug programs using Health Canada’s indications and Cystic Fibrosis Canada’s clinician-developed guidelines for access and continuation. We urge all remaining jurisdictions to ensure swift access for all who could benefit from the drug as recommended by their physician.
“This is tremendous news for the cystic fibrosis community in BC. This community, including people impacted by the disease, volunteers and clinic staff have fought long and hard for this day. Receiving access to this transformational drug and the announcement of the CFCBC is going to change lives,” said Chris Black, CF mom and lead BC advocate, Cystic Fibrosis Canada. “While this is an exciting day for Western Canada, we will keep pushing forward until every Canadian who needs Trikafta can access it.”
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For more information or to speak to a community member or clinician for a reaction, please contact:
Cateryne Rhéaume, National Bilingual Communications and Marketing Associate
Tel: 438 868-4451
Nicole Young, Director
Tel: (905) 317-5529