March 29, 2017 12:48 pm

Patients in Saskatchewan to receive expanded hepatitis C drug coverage

Saskatchewan is expanding its health care coverage to make effective hepatitis C drugs readily available in the province.

Handout, Gilead Sciences Inc. / The Canadian Press
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Saskatchewan is expanding its health care coverage to make effective hepatitis C drugs readily available in the province.

Saskatchewan is expanding coverage of six drugs that treat hepatitis C. According to the government, new drug therapies have a success rate of more than 95 per cent.

Through the pan-Canadian Pharmaceutical Alliance (pCPA), provinces, territories and the federal drug programs negotiated with the drugs manufactures to try and get a better price for these drugs.

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READ MORE: Saskatchewan government to cover new hepatitis C drug

About 12,000 patients in Saskatchewan are currently infected with hepatitis C.

“Our government is committed to providing residents with better access to these new and effective treatment options,” Health Minister Jim Reiter said.

“These new medications offer a much better chance of curing hepatitis C, and vastly improve patients’ quality of life.”

In Saskatchewan and other provinces, criteria for coverage is restricted to patients with more advanced hepatitis C disease. The negotiations will now allow the criteria to be expanded to include patients with less severe disease.

Hepatitis C is a viral disease that affects the liver. Effects of the virus range in severity from a mild illness to liver scarring and liver cancer.

© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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