Macular Degeneration Treatment – Nova Scotia, Canada

Macular Degeneration Support Canada polled all Canadian provinces as to whether they were going to include Lucentis as part of their drug formularies.  Nova Scotia is the latest to reply as to their coverage for macular degeneration treatments.

In March 2008, the Common Drug Review committee made a recommendation that ranibizumab (Lucentis) be included as part of the drug plan formulaires across Canada.  Currently, only Ontario and Quebec has included coverage for this drug as a treatment of wet macular degeneration.

On April 27, 2008, all provincial government health departments in Canada were contacted through the mechanisms identified on their website.

Macular Degeneration Support Canada asked the following questions:

  • Given that the Common Drug Review Committee has recommended provincial health care systems provide coverage for the drug Lucentis as a treatment of macular degeneration, does your province provide coverage for this drug?
  • If coverage for Lucentis is not provided, what treatment options do you pay for and provide for patients suffering from Macular Degeneration

The province of Nova Scotia had the following response.

Thank you for your recent correspondence dated April 27, 2008, regarding the funding of drugs for the treatment of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) under the Nova Scotia Pharmacare Programs.

Before a drug is added as a benefit to the Pharmacare Programs, it must first undergo a review process by an expert advisory committee to evaluate the evidence of the drug for safety, efficacy and cost effectiveness. After the review, the committee provides a listing recommendation to Nova Scotia and other participating publicly funded drug benefit plans.

Currently the drug verteporfin (Visudyne) is a benefit under the Nova Scotia Pharmacare Programs for the treatment of wet AMD when prescribed by an authorized ophthalmologist.

A recommendation from the Canadian Expert Drug Advisory Committee (CEDAC) was recently received for the drug ranibizumab (Lucentis). Nova Scotia is currently in the process of working with the manufacturer of Lucentis to meet the terms of the recommendation, which is to list it as a benefit with criteria.

The only Canadian provinces to reply indicating that Lucentis was covered as a treatment for the wet macular degeneartion have been Ontario and Quebec.

Only Newfoundland and Labrador is left to respond regarding which macular degeneration drugs it provides coverage.