New Brunswick Covers Lucentis Treatments for Wet Macular Degeneration

Lucentis, the leading treatment for the eye disease wet macular degeneration is now covered through the New Brunswick Prescription Drug Plan (NBPDP).  The November 16 announcement ensures that people suffering from wet macular degeneration have access to the sight saving drug Lucentis, a macular degeneration treatment shown to improve vision and help restore the quality of life for people suffering from the eye disease.

New Brunswick joins Newfoundland and Labrador as only the second Atlantic Canadian province to provide coverage for Lucentis treatments.  With the annoucement, New Brunswick joins Newfoundland and Labrador, Quebec, Ontario, British Columbia, Saskatchewan, the Yukon and Alberta in providing treatments for patients diagnosed with wet macular degeneration.

People diagnosed with wet macular degeneration generally experience a rapid deterioration of their central vision that eventually leads to blindless.  Lucentis has become the treatment standard for wet macular degeneration and has been shown to dramatically improve the vision in the majority of the patients receiving the injections.  In clinical trials, Lucentis was shown to improve the vision of approximately 40 percent of patients to a visual acuity of 20/40 or better.

In March 2008, the Common Drug Review (CDR), Canada’s national drug review panel recommended that Lucentis be covered under provincial drug plans.  Ontario and Quebec were the first provinces to provide coverage of Lucentis for macular degeneration.

Lucentis is designed specifically for use in teh eye and is administered through injections.  Wet macular degeneration is characterized by the formation of abnormal blood vessels and leakages behind the retina that results in the loss of central vision.  Lucentis treatments targets these abnormal blood vessels and prevents further leakages from occurring.

With New Brunswick being the latest Canadian province to provide coverage for Lucentis, one can only hope that the remaining provinces will follow suit.