Quebec could pay up to $ 25 million per year for a drug whose effectiveness has been called into question.
This medicine help to treat some 600 Quebecers living with spinal muscular atrophy 5q (AS), a neurodegenerative disease.
On Wednesday, the minister of Health, Danielle McCann, has announced that people with types II and III of this disease will now be able to have access to the drug Spinraza. Currently, only the cases of type I are eligible for a rebate in Quebec.
She said that this decision was made following a recommendation of the ” Institut national d’excellence en santé et en services sociaux (INESSS).
In December 2017, INESSS had recommended to the minister of Health of the time, Gaétan Barrette, does not register the Spinraza on the List of medications — Institutions, because it did not meet the criterion of therapeutic value for the treatment of AS, in addition to being excessively costly.
“The results generated by the cost-utility analysis, are subject to great uncertainty”, wrote in the report, noting that the treatment would cost approximately $ 700,000 the first year and $ 350,000 in the following years.
INESSS moving then that seven Quebeckers out of 100,000 would be achieved of AS type I, II and III, for a total of 591 Quebec 8.4 million. The reimbursement by the public plan of the drug Spinraza was not “a responsible decision, is fair and equitable, taking into account the price submitted by the manufacturer”.
It would have caused additional costs of $ 9.3 million for the first three years following its registration, for the treatment of 10 people HAVE type I, according to the institute.
However, in the office of the minister McCann, it is claimed that in total the medicine will cost the State between 20 and $ 25 million per year. This figure does not take account of discounts negotiated by the Quebec and pan-canadian Alliance pharmaceutical. “This is the estimate that was provided to us by the department and the RAMQ”, said by email the press officer of the minister, Alexandre Lahaie.
Earlier, Mrs McCann had been unable to confirm to journalists the number of Quebecers with the disease, or the cost of its measurement, or if it would apply to children or adults, saying to wait for the final report to the INESSS, which will be made public on the 14th of January next. “It must be sensitive to situations like that in our population,” she pleaded in a media scrum.
These are difficult decisions, has recognized Mr. Barrette in a telephone interview Wednesday. “Two years ago, I have authorized a drug that would cost 238 000 $ per person. Why? Because his success rate was 95 %, he reported. At the other end, when the success rate is 15 % for $ 500,000, they said no. The Spinraza, the success rate is quite low.”
Spinal muscular atrophy 5q is a neurodegenerative disease which involves a constant deterioration of the physical condition.