Ottawa To Improve Access To Meds For Rare Diseases

OTTAWA — Federal officials will invest up to $1.5 billion over the next three years to improve access to drugs used to treat rare diseases, Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos said Wednesday.

Up to $1.4 billion will help provinces and territories expand coverage of new and existing drugs that treat rare diseases as well as support enhanced access to early diagnosis and screening, which Ottawa says allows patients to receive treatment as early as possible.

“Access and affordability should never be a barrier to care,” said Duclos in a statement.

“We will keep working with provinces and territories and all relevant partners so those living with a rare disease, including children, have the best health outcome possible while their caregivers get the support they need and deserve.”

The federal government also wants to work with provinces and territories to create a list of new and emerging drugs for rare diseases covered by all government health insurance plans. It also wants to support First Nations and Inuit patients living with rare diseases by providing Indigenous Services Canada with $33 million.

Ottawa says one in every 12 Canadians has a rare disease.