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B.C. government will fund $60,000 Parkinson's drug treatment

B.C. funds $60,000 Parkinson's treatment

VICTORIA — The British Columbia government says it will fund an expensive medication for some people who have Parkinson's disease.

Health Minister Terry Lake says the government will work with the Pacific Parkinson's Research Centre to identify and prioritize patients for the medication Duodopa.

Lake says there have been strong testimonials and compelling accounts of the drug improving symptoms and quality of life for patients, but it comes at a cost of about $60,000 per person annually.

He says the government is also working with the drug maker to attempt to bring the cost down so that more people can be covered.

The drug hasn't gone through the common review process and wasn't recommended for coverage, but Lake says with the coverage on an exceptional basis, they are offering an additional option for families facing the disease.

He says about a dozen people have been identified so far who may benefit from the drug and they are limited in their ability to cover the annual cost.

"It's very expensive, as a lot of new drugs are, which is why we continue to work with the company to try to get the costs down. I think there's a lot of work to do with pharmaceutical companies across Canada, and in fact North America, to reduce the cost of some of these drugs and to have more people benefit from them."


The Canadian Press