Ontario Providing Access to Life-Changing Treatment for Cystic Fibrosis Patients

Published on September 24, 2021

Beamsville - Ontario is now providing coverage for Trikafta, the latest and most effective treatment option for cystic fibrosis to become available, under its publicly-funded drug program to give patients more access to life-changing treatments for cystic fibrosis.

"Our government has taken urgent action to ensure all cystic fibrosis patients will have more timely access to the effective and life-changing treatments they need," said Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health.

"Providing coverage for Trikafta is one more way our government is building a sustainable, modern and connected health care system that will expand coverage to new and innovative treatments and provide high-quality health care to patients for years to come."

In addition to the drugs Orkambi and Kalydeco, the first drugs in this class to treat cystic fibrosis and currently funded through the Ontario Drug Benefit (ODB) program, Ontario is now also providing coverage for Trikafta, giving patients access to more options for treatment they need. Ontario patients aged 12 and up who do not meet the lung function criteria may work with their clinician to apply to the Exceptional Access Program (EAP) to be considered for funding on a case-by-case basis.

"Patient advocates in Niagara have shared with me the importance of expanding coverage for newly approved drug treatment options," said Sam Oosterhoff, MPP for Niagara West.

"The expansion of coverage to Trikafta confirms our government is working hard to provide patients with access to the latest life-changing treatments."

The drug was approved by Health Canada in June 2021 in an aligned review with the Canadian Agency for Drugs and Technologies in Health (CADTH), allowing for near simultaneous issuance of Health Canada’s Notice of Compliance and CADTH’s draft reimbursement recommendation and expediting the review and recommendation process. A positive health technology assessment was received through the CADTH drug review process. This process provides critical insight from patients, clinicians and experts to ensure drug funding recommendations are evidence-based and consider clinical benefit and cost-effectiveness.

The pan-Canadian Pharmaceutical Alliance (pCPA) accelerated the negotiations process to reach a mutual agreement on terms with Vertex Pharmaceuticals for Trikafta and Ontario has moved quickly to initiate funding.

"Trikafta is the single greatest innovation in cystic fibrosis history and it has the power to transform the lives of thousands of Canadians," said Kelly Grover, President and CEO, Cystic Fibrosis Canada.

"The cystic fibrosis community in Ontario has fought long and hard to get this drug into their hands. Access to Trikafta will mean longer and healthier lives for so many people and the ability to plan for a future that many feared they might not live to see."