Tanner Wilson enjoys watching movies with his family.
The young boy is limited to not doing much more because he suffers from a mitochondrial condition known as Leigh’s disease.
His parents are really feeling the squeeze for the cost of it all.
“We already have the stress and having to deal with the regression of Tanner and the inevitable that might be coming … A person shouldn’t have to worry about the financial need of a medicine that keeps your child around with you,” said his dad Patrick.
Tanner was diagnosed about three years ago and his parents say Saskatchewan doctors told them to enjoy whatever time they had left with their son.
After doing some research, they found a doctor at Alberta Children’s Hospital who they see once a year.
Dr. Aneal Khan prescribed Tanner a cocktail of vitamins but has now increased the dosage because Tanner has grown.
“These vitamins are part of important processes in the body that we need to use the vitamins to help outpatients who have a genetic cause of being sick. Although they’re vitamins, they’re actually very important in managing the health of children in these particular situations,” said the University of Calgary pediatrics and medical genetics professor.
Tanner’s parents said they’re currently paying around $500 a month on all of the vitamins, but the latest prescription will mean that could jump to more than $1,000.
While they are covered in some provinces, Saskatchewan covers the vitamins on a case-by-case basis.
“We always want to make sure that drugs we’re covering do have medical evidence that shows that there is a benefit to the patient. So at that point, we would look at the information that is submitted by the physician and then make a determination based on that information,” said Nick Doulias, the executive director of the Saskatchewan drug plan and extended benefits branch.
Tanner’s parents have reached out to several politicians, including the health minister.
They received a letter back last year asking if the couple has spoken with the pharmacy about why the prescription has increased.
In a statement, the ministry said, “Pharmacies can be especially helpful for a patient to understand the cost of their medications and how the cost is determined. If that cost has increased, pharmacists could advise why and help a patient determine their next course of action.”
The Saskatoon family has had their application for coverage turned down once, but are planning to send in another.
“It’s just sad because we have to fight for what’s keeping our son here because people don’t understand. It shouldn’t have to be this way,” Tanner’s mom Leeanne said.