LETTER: We need new drug guidelines for extraordinary cases

Dear editor,

I have just read an article about six-year-old Landen Alexa, who has systemic juvenile idiopathic arthritis and has been denied coverage for the $19,000-per-month drug that eases his crippling pain.

This is not the only article I have read about diseases for which treatment becomes ineffective and new treatments must be sought.

This seems to often take people into the realm of drugs Pharmacare says it will not cover.

I believe we need a new category of drugs to cover these kinds of instances, because this is a regular occurrence. I have a friend who was on lithium for her mental illness for many years. It started killing her. If she couldn’t get the new drugs she’d be in big trouble.

And who can imagine the suffering of a six-year-old with juvenile arthritis whose parents can’t afford the new medication now needed?

I suggest that a new category cover drugs which are the follow-up drugs when others become ineffective.

I understand why Pharmacare would want to limit the number of drugs covered, but sometimes a case-by-case consideration is required. Where it is not reasonable or ethical to stick rigidly to guidelines, new guidelines are needed.

I call on our government to both develop new guidelines and to have an interim policy in place to cover situations like Landen’s.

Kathy Duperron


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