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B.C. PharmaCare program approves additional drugs, expands coverage

Pharmacist Denis Boissinot checks a bottle on a shelf at his pharmacy on March 8, 2012 in Quebec City. The Ministry of Health says thousands of eligible British Columbians are benefiting from expanded coverage for medications that make it easier or more effective to treat their conditions. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jacques Boissinot

The Ministry of Health says thousands of eligible British Columbians are benefiting from expanded coverage for medications that make it easier or more effective to treat their conditions.

A statement from the Health Ministry says BC PharmaCare has been rolling out new or expanded coverage for a range of medications since late last year.

The drugs treat conditions including ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease, severely low blood sugar, migraines, low white blood cell levels, multiple sclerosis and heart failure.

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The ministry says the new treatment covered for colitis or Crohn’s disease can be administered by the patient rather than requiring a visit to a clinic, while a nasal spray is now available for the treatment of low blood sugar, or hypoglycemia, eliminating regular injections for thousands with that condition.

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The ministry estimates at least 10,000 patients with migraines will gain from the addition of another drug to the official list of medicines, and the same number of patients with a specific type of heart failure will be eligible for a drug that dramatically cuts hospitalizations and the risk of death.

PharmaCare coverage has also been expanded to include what the ministry says is a long-acting, highly effective birth control drug that is implanted in the patient’s upper arm as an alternative, low-cost option to birth control pills or intrauterine devices.

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