The drug is covered through the B.C. Expensive Drugs for Rare Diseases process. (Courtesy/Trikafta)

The drug is covered through the B.C. Expensive Drugs for Rare Diseases process. (Courtesy/Trikafta)

B.C. expands access to cystic fibrosis treatment Trikafta

An estimated 185 more people will have access to the drug under new eligibility criteria

The province has expanded eligibility to access the cystic fibrosis medication Trikafta for British Columbians who need it.

Eligibility criteria will be expanded on Tuesday, (Sept. 13) based on a recommendation from the Canadian Drug Expert Committee.

Trikafta is a triple-combination medication of ivacaftor, tezacaftor and elexacaftor, used for the treatment of cystic fibrosis in patients who have at least one F508del mutation. It has shown to improve lung function and quality of life as well as reduce the frequency of lung attacks.

When the drug was first listed in September 2021, patients needed to be 12 years old or older and have a forced expiratory volume (FEV) less than 90 per cent. The expert committee has now issued a new recommendation for expanded eligibility criteria which includes children aged six to 11 years and those aged 12 or older with a FEV more than 90 per cent.

“Living with cystic fibrosis is a daily struggle for both patients and their families,” said Adrian Dix, Minister of Health. “Expanding access to Trikafta for children aged six to 11 provides an additional treatment option for the hundreds of people living with cystic fibrosis in B.C.”

The drug is covered through the B.C. Expensive Drugs for Rare Diseases process, which allows patients to access high-cost drugs for rare conditions on a case-by-case basis. Currently, approximately 150 people in B.C. benefit from Trikafta PharmaCare coverage. An estimated 185 more people are expected to become eligible with the expanded criteria.

Cystic fibrosis, which affects approximately 500 people in B.C., is a genetic disease that largely affects a person’s lungs, but also the pancreas, liver, kidneys and intestine. Long-term challenges can include respiratory difficulties and complications, including frequent lung exacerbations.

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