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WHAT IS ORKAMBI?
ORKAMBI® is a disease modifying drug developed to treat cystic fibrosis. It can improve lung function, reduce the number of pulmonary exacerbations, and can improve the nutritional status of some people who have two copies of the most common mutation of cystic fibrosis: F508del. Orkambi treats up to 50% of Canadians living with cystic fibrosis.
IS ORKAMBI AVAILABLE IN CANADA?
Orkambi was approved for use in Canada in January 2016.
However, the Canadian Agency for Drugs and Technologies in Health (CADTH) recommended that Orkambi should not be reimbursed by federal, provincial and territorial drug programs. Quebec’s separate review body – The National Institute of Excellence in Health and Social Services (INESSS), also did not recommend Orkambi for public coverage.
Cystic Fibrosis Canada completely disagrees with both the CADTH and INESSS recommendations and cautions that they could have deadly consequences for some Canadians with cystic fibrosis for years to come. Read our news release on the CADTH recommendation.
Despite the negative recommendation by CADTH and INESSS, the governments of Saskatchewan, Alberta and Ontario do have prescribing criteria for pediatric patients to qualify for public coverage of Orkambi. Details of the criteria include:
- Case-by-case access for Orkambi will be considered for pediatric patients between 6-17 years old in Saskatchewan, Ontario and Alberta who have experienced at least a 20 percent relative decrease in ppFEV1 in the last six months sustained for at least six weeks despite appropriate treatment.
Sadly the criteria are so restrictive that, to our knowledge, only one patient has qualified.
In Quebec, Orkambi is available through the province's patient d'exception program, however the access criteria is not publicly accessible.
NEGOTIATIONS WITH THE MANUFACTURER FOR ORKAMBI
On June 12, 2020 the pan-Canadian Pharmaceutical Alliance (pCPA) agreed to enter negotiations with Vertex Pharmaceuticals on Orkambi and Kalydeco. Cystic Fibrosis Canada is calling on governments and Vertex to get through these negotiations quickly and to work together to fast-track access to Trikafta, however significant time has already passed and we are yet to see real progress. For more information see our Q&A.
What can I do to advocate for access to Orkambi?
Make your voice heard. Meet with your provincial elected officials. Demand that the federal government halt the changes to the PMPRB. We need a commitment from provincial governments to expedite price negotiations and the immediate list of Trikafta after drug reviews are completed. Join our National Advocacy Network. Share your access stories on social media using #cfcantwait, and tag your elected officials.
Write to and meet with your provincial and federal elected officials. CF Canada’s advocacy toolkit will help you have these conversations.
Visit our ‘How to Take Action’ webpage for ways to support our current advocacy work.
Sign up for ‘The Advocacy Brief’ to get advocacy updates related to access to modulators delivered straight to your inbox.
INTERESTED IN ADVOCATING FOR BETTER ACCESS TO ORKAMBI?
Contact our advocacy team at email@example.com to see how you can help. Or check out the toolkit below to help your advocacy efforts.
Orkambi advocates toolkit:
- Orkambi® call to action flyer (PDF download)
- Tips for meeting with elected officials (PDF download)
- Recommendations for the clinical use of Orkambi™(PDF download)