Manitoba Government Adding 54 New Medications to Pharmacare Program, Extends Coverage For Hepatitis C

July 27, 2015

New Holkira Pak Hepatitis C Drug Has Cure Rate of More Than 90 Per Cent, Few or No Side Effects: Minister Blady

Patients will have access to an additional 54 new drugs through the Manitoba Pharmacare Program, including the highly effective Holkira Pak for the treatment of hepatitis C, Health Minister Sharon Blady announced today.

“As we approach World Hepatitis Day on July 28, our government is proud to now further extend the coverage for treatment of Hepatitis C by adding Holkira Pak to the formulary,” said Minister Blady. “Over the past 16 years, the Manitoba government has added approximately 4500 new drugs to the Pharmacare Program to help Manitoba families cure or manage their illnesses.”

Hepatitis C is a liver disease caused by a virus spread through blood-to-blood contact. In April, the province added Sovaldi, Harvoni and Ibavyr to the provincial formulary to help hepatitis C patients get the treatment coverage they need.

“We have entered a new era in the fight against hepatitis C,” said Kirk Leavesley, chairperson, Manitoba Hepatitis C Support Community Inc. “Well tolerated treatments are now available with more than a 95 per cent success rate. We now have the means to make a huge impact in the elimination of hepatitis C worldwide and the suffering of those affected.”

Some of the other new drugs added to the formulary include:
• Anoro Ellipta and Ultibro Breezhaler for the treatment of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease;
• Diacomit for the treatment of epilepsy;
• Fosrenol for the treatment of hyperphosphatemia (the presences of abnormally high levels of phosphate in the blood);
• Inspra for the treatment of heart failure;
• Janumet and Janumet XR for the treatment of diabetes;
• Jaydess for contraception;
• Metadol for the treatment of chronic pain;
• Myrbetriq for the treatment of overactive bladder; and
• Tivicay for the treatment of HIV.

The minister said the addition of Anoro Ellipta, Diacomit, Holkira Pak, Inspra, Myrbetriq, Tivicay and Ultibro Breezhaler to the formulary is a direct result of Manitoba’s participation in the Pan-Canadian Pharmaceutical Alliance.  Minister Blady noted this alliance brings provincial governments together to negotiate better prices on both brand name and generic prescription drugs, making them more affordable in the long term.

Of the 54 drugs added, 24 are generic medications.  Coverage for the new drugs came into effect on July 22.

Pharmacare is a universal, comprehensive prescription drug benefit program for Manitobans based on family income.  It covers 100 per cent of eligible drug costs once the income-based deductible is reached, regardless of medical condition or age.

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