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October 18, 2021

Cystic Fibrosis Canada calls on remaining jurisdictions to fund the drug 

 TORONTO, October 19, 2021– Yukon is the first territory to commit to list the transformational cystic fibrosis drug Trikafta. Cystic Fibrosis Canada is pleased that the government of Yukon has recognized the importance of getting this drug to the people who need it and congratulates the advocates on the ground who have worked so hard for this moment.   

With the announcement last week, Yukon joins Ontario, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Quebec, British Columbia and Prince Edward Island as the latest Canadian jurisdiction to change the lives of its residents with cystic fibrosis. The territory is in the process of adding the drug to the Yukon Drug Formulary and expects the process to be complete within the next two months. We have have asked for further details on this two month process.   

While the drug will soon be available under the Yukon Drug Formulary, the announcement did not indicate 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 territory 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. Yukon noted that it is working to list Trikafta and is developing criteria for coverage.   

“We are very pleased that the Yukon will fund Trikafta, this will change the lives of residents in the Yukon who live with cystic fibrosis,” said Kelly Grover, President and CEO, Cystic Fibrosis Canada. “We are grateful to the advocates on the ground who played a large role in making this happen. The future of many Yukoners impacted by cystic fibrosis will be changed because of your efforts.”  

Four provinces, two territories and federal drug funding programs have not yet listed Trikafta. Cystic Fibrosis Canada is calling on Manitoba, Newfoundland and Labrador, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Northwest Territories, Nunavut and the Non-Insured Health Benefits (NIHB) Program to immediately fund the drug under 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 and broad access for all who could benefit from the drug as recommended by their physician.   

In June 2021,Health Canada approved the use of Trikaftafor 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.  

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 About cystic fibrosis
Cystic fibrosis is the most common fatal genetic disease affecting 4,344 Canadian children and young adults. There is no cure. Of the Canadians with cystic fibrosis who died in the past three years, half were under the age of 34. 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 4,344 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.  

 For more information, please contact: 

Cateryne Rhéaume, National Bilingual Communications and Marketing Associate 
Tel: 438 868-4451 

Nicole Young, Director 
Tel: (905) 317-5529 


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