A pharmacy worker counts pills for a prescription, March 11, 2021. B.C. announced expanded medication coverage on May 3, 2022, including for treating Crohn’s disease and migraines. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz

A pharmacy worker counts pills for a prescription, March 11, 2021. B.C. announced expanded medication coverage on May 3, 2022, including for treating Crohn’s disease and migraines. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz

B.C. expands PharmaCare coverage for Crohn’s, MS, heart failure, birth control

More medications partially or fully covered as of mid-April

Eight medications used to treat diseases like multiple sclerosis, migraines and heart failure are now covered or partially covered under B.C. PharmaCare.

The province made the announcement Monday (May 2), but has been rolling out the expanded coverage since December.

It began with Etonogestrel, a three-year contraceptive that is implanted in a patient’s upper arm. As of Dec. 7, the medication is eligible for full coverage.

In January, B.C. added additional coverage for people with multiple sclerosis. Cladribine and siponimod are now partially covered and expected to benefit 130 people each in the first year. The province also updated coverage criteria for medications used to treat relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis, making more people eligible earlier and more frequently.

In the same month, the medication dapaglifozin was added under partial coverage. It’s used to treat heart failure and has been shown to reduce death and hospitalizations. The province says 10,000 people will benefit from the increased coverage in the first year.

READ ALSO: B.C. government announces medical device coverage for people with diabetes

In March, partial coverage was added for filgrastim biosimilar to treat low white blood cell levels.

Later in the month, migraine medication fremanezumab was also added as a limited coverage benefit. The province says it will likely benefit 10,000 people each year.

Glucagon intranasal spray, used to treat severe hypoglycemia reactions, is eligible for full coverage as of April 5. It helps limit hypoglycemia symptoms such as trembling, sweating, anxiety, nausea, vision changes, and difficulty speaking.

Finally, as of April 12, a new method of vedolizumab adminstration is covered to treat severely active ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. It can now be taken at home, instead of at a clinic.

More information about medications, devices and supplies covered under PharmaCare can be found at gov.bc.ca

READ ALSO: High cost, limited coverage for asthma medicine a concern during COVID-19


@janeskrypnek
jane.skrypnek@bpdigital.ca

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