November 20, 2017 8:26 pm
Updated: November 20, 2017 11:59 pm

B.C. government approves coverage of expensive drug Soliris on case-by-case basis

WATCH: After several days of pressure and criticism, the NDP government has announced that an expensive drug treatment for a rare disease could be approved on a case-by-case basis. Keith Baldrey has the details from Victoria.

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B.C.’s health minister says the province will cover the costs of an expensive drug used to treat a rare autoimmune disease on a case-by-case basis.

Soliris is used to treat atypical hemolytic uremic syndrome (aHUS), a disease that is characterized by renal failure (when the kidneys stop working), issues related to red blood cell counts, and vascular troubles. It costs around $750,000 a year.

WATCH: UBC student makes desperate plea to provincial government to help save her life

The drug became a hot-button issue after 23-year-old Shantee Anaquod went public with her battle to seek coverage. She hoped to receive the drug but was told B.C. currently doesn’t cover it because it’s not recommended by the Common Drug Review and the B.C. Drug Benefit Council.

WATCH: B.C. health minister face questions

“It’s really frustrating because you’re told you can get better,” Anaquod told Global News last week.

“But you’re also told that you might die if you don’t get it, and they’re not going to give it to you.”

READ MORE: Orphan drugs: The high cost of rare diseases

Soliris has been approved by Health Canada and is currently covered in Alberta, Ontario and Quebec.

Health minister Adrian Dix said Monday that the province will cover the drug but a new committee of medical specialists will have to sign off on individual cases for coverage.

– With files from Jesse Ferreras

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

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