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(VIDEO) Wilson continues fight for funding Cystic Fibrosis medications

(May 19, 2020) - Simcoe-Grey MPP Jim Wilson has again taken the fight for Cystic Fibrosis medications to the Ontario legislature.  During Question Period today, Wilson cautioned Health Minister Christine Elliott that COVID-19 has made the need for access to lifesaving CF drugs more urgent than ever. 

“Cystic Fibrosis is a disease that affects the lungs and breathing,” said Wilson. “Catching COVID-19 would be a death sentence for children like the two young boys of Jamie and Sasha Larocque who live in my riding,” he warned. 

Pointing out that the government has put billions of dollars into fighting the COVID-19 pandemic, Wilson asked Minister Elliott, “Why won’t the government give the same consideration to Cystic Fibrosis patients who are presumably at a much greater risk of complications if they contract COVID-19?”

Despite that many other jurisdictions supply the medications, Canadian provinces and the federal government have been in drawn-out negotiations with Vertex Pharmaceutical, a company which manufactures several modulators which correct underlying causes of some genetic Cystic Fibrosis mutations.  Ontario has approved funding for one of these drugs, Orkambi, but the criteria for prescribing it are so stringent that no patient in the province has been given access to it.  

As a stop-gap measure to help some of Ontario’s CF sufferers, Wilson asked, “since your ministry put the criteria on, clearly your ministry has the power to loosen that criteria and give CF patients access to Orkambi, a drug we all agree is essentially a miracle drug for these patients. I would ask that you loosen that criteria today and let those patients breath and breath freely.” 

Recognizing Wilson’s longstanding advocacy on behalf of Cystic Fibrosis patients, Minister Elliott gave assurances that her ministry is continuing conversations with Vertex on funding CF medications.

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