The Manitoba government is adding new drugs to the provincial formulary. That means Trikafta for cystic fibrosis (CF) and HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) are now available to those who meet eligibility for the treatment. The announcement was made Friday afternoon by Premier Kelvin Goertzen and Health and Seniors Care Minister Audrey Gordon.
"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," says Goertzen. "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."
"Trikafta helps people better manage their illness and PrEP is an anti-retroviral drug that is very effective when taken before exposure to dramatically reduce the risk of HIV infections," says Gordon. "This addition to the formulary will ensure 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 (EIA)."
Trikafta is a treatment for cystic fibrosis and helps people better manage their illness, notes the minister. Trikafta is a triple combination drug that is used not just for treating symptoms but to also target the basic defect from specific genetic mutations that cause cystic fibrosis. Through Manitoba's participation in the pan-Canadian Pharmaceutical Alliance, Manitoba is now able to provide access to this transformational treatment.
"Trikafta is the single greatest innovation in cystic fibrosis history and it has the power to transform the lives of thousands of Canadians," says Kelly Grover, President and CEO, Cystic Fibrosis Canada. "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."
PrEP is taken daily to prevent HIV from spreading in a person's body and reduces the risk of getting the virus. PrEP medications are safe and side effects are rare, notes Gordon. Health officials advise Manitobans to continue to be tested regularly for HIV and other sexually transmitted and blood-borne infections to ensure people are diagnosed early and can receive treatment to prolong and improve their quality of life and prevent further spread.
"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," says Michael Payne, Executive Director, Nine Circles Community Health Centre. "The cost of treating one person living with HIV is far greater than the cost of HIV prevention with PrEP. The inclusion of PrEP in the formulary is a game-changer and will no doubt improve opportunities for HIV prevention."
Medical practitioners must register to provide PrEP. Registration forms and more information on HIV in Manitoba are available at www.gov.mb.ca/health/publichealth/diseases/hiv.html.
Manitoba Health and Seniors Care partnered with the Manitoba HIV Program to develop the Manitoba HIV Program HIV Prevention Guidelines, including detailed eligibility for the treatment, initial and ongoing assessments, and support recommended for the care of a patient or client receiving PrEP. These guidelines are available at https://mbhiv.ca/guidelines.
The Manitoba Pharmacare Program is a drug benefit program for eligible Manitobans, regardless of disease or age, whose income is seriously affected by high prescription drug costs.
Pharmacare coverage is based on both the total family income and the amount paid for eligible prescription drugs. The total family income is adjusted to include a spouse and the number of dependents, if applicable.