The Manitoba government is adding new drugs to the provincial formulary, making Trikafta for cystic fibrosis (CF) and HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) available to those who meet eligibility.
Trikafta is a triple combination drug that not only treats symptoms, but also targets the basic defect from specific genetic mutations that cause CF, the province said in a release Friday.
PrEP is an anti-retroviral drug taken daily to prevent HIV from spreading in a person’s body and reduces the risk of getting the virus, according to the province.
“Our government is committed to ensuring Manitobans have access to high-quality, transformative medications that help to manage their illness and greatly improve their quality of life,” said Manitoba Premier Kelvin Goertzen in the release.
“While COVID-19 continues to be the biggest challenge of our time, we are also focused on addressing the many other health challenges Manitobans face and providing better access to care and lessening the financial burden so patients can focus on their physical and mental well-being.”
The move means patients can access both Trikafta and HIV PrEP drugs if they meet provincial eligibility criteria and are eligible for pharmacare or receive health coverage from Employment and Income Assistance, Health Minister Audrey Gordon said.
“Trikafta is the single greatest innovation in cystic fibrosis history and it has the power to transform the lives of thousands of Canadians,” Kelly Grover, president and CEO of Cystic Fibrosis Canada, said in the province’s release.
“The CF community in Manitoba 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.”
The province says medical practitioners will need to register online to provide PrEP.
Michael Payne, executive director of Nine Circles Community Health Centre said the cost of treating one person with HIV is “far greater” than the cost of preventing the virus with PrEP.
“Manitoba has one of the highest rates of HIV infection in Canada and our epidemiology shows clearly that those communities most at risk are also the least likely to be able to afford the cost of PrEP,” Payne said in the province’s release.
“The inclusion of PrEP in the formulary is a game changer and will no doubt improve opportunities for HIV prevention.”