Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Alberta will fund drugs to treat rare diseases

From the Globe and Mail:
As Ontario was defending its refusal to fund a costly drug for an ailing man, Alberta ushered in a new strategy that will ensure those with rare, genetic diseases are provided medicine - even for drugs that cost $1-million a year.

Alberta's move yesterday is believed to be the first in Canada for rare diseases and will provide coverage starting in April.

Eligible patients will be required to pay premiums and make co-payments for the drugs, which typically total $250,000 to $1-million annually for each patient and are often the only medicine approved for their condition.

"Currently, today, we don't have a policy in place, and quite frankly, it becomes a pick and choose by the Minister, and the Minister isn't going to choose for somebody to die," Alberta's Minister of Health and Wellness, Ron Liepert, said in a telephone interview yesterday. "This way, it's part of our drug policy." ...more

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