Patients in Ontario Can Now Access Trikafta Through Public Plan

Marisa Wexler, MS avatar

by Marisa Wexler, MS |

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People with cystic fibrosis (CF) in Ontario, Canada, will now have access to the triple-combination therapy Trikafta through the province’s publicly funded drug program.

“Our government has taken urgent action to ensure all cystic fibrosis patients will have more timely access to the effective and lifechanging treatments they need,” Christine Elliott, Ontario’s deputy premier and health minister, said in a press release.

“Providing coverage for Trikafta is one more way our government is building a sustainable, modern and connected health care system that will expand coverage to new and innovative treatments and provide high-quality health care to patients for years to come,” Elliott said.

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Trikafta, by Vertex Pharmaceuticals, is a combination of three CFTR modulators (elexacaftor, tezacaftor, and ivacaftor), medications that can increase the functionality of the CFTR protein in people with specific disease-causing mutations.

“Trikafta is the single greatest innovation in cystic fibrosis history and it has the power to transform the lives of thousands of Canadians,” said Kelly Grover, president and CEO of Cystic Fibrosis Canada.

“The cystic fibrosis community in Ontario has fought long and hard to get this drug into their hands,” Grover added. “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.”

Health Canada approved Trikafta in June to treat patients, 12 and older, who carry at least one F508del gene mutation, the most common CF-causing mutation. The medication also received a positive recommendation from the Canadian Agency for Drugs and Technology in Health, an independent body that interprets data for healthcare decision-makers to help them make informed judgments about therapies.

Shortly after Trikafta’s Canadian approval, the agency issued recommendations for its use. These included restricting the therapy to individuals whose lung function is below 90% of what would be expected normally, and requiring that patients demonstrate a 5% sustained improvement in lung function to continue treatment. These restrictions have been criticized by Cystic Fibrosis Canada, which has also urged the adoption of the latest standardized care guidelines.

Patients in Ontario who don’t meet these lung function criteria can work with their healthcare team to apply to an exceptional access program, which will be considered for funding on a case-by-case basis.

At its list price, Trikafta costs about $300,000 CA (about $237,000 USD) per patient per year. An estimated 1,500 people in Ontario have cystic fibrosis.