B.C. boosts coverage of four drugs, including diabetes med in Hollywood weight fad – BC News
Drug coverage expanded
The Canadian Press – Jan 5, 2023 / 3:30pm | History: 404779
Photo: The Canadian Press
BC Secretary of Health Adrian Dix pauses while answering questions during a news conference Monday, November 7, 2022 in Vancouver. British Columbia has expanded PharmaCare coverage of four drugs to treat diabetes, heart failure and blood clots, including a drug the health secretary says has been promoted as a weight-loss aid, “particularly in Hollywood.” THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
British Columbia has expanded PharmaCare coverage of four drugs to treat diabetes, heart failure and blood clots, including a drug that the Health Secretary said was being promoted as a weight-loss aid, “particularly in Hollywood.”
Adrian Dix says the drug, sold under the Ozempic brand name, will be available to more type 2 diabetes patients in British Columbia, although the expansion falls short of regular benefit coverage.
But Dix says there has been a “dramatic surge” in demand for Ozempic, in part because of “influencers” promoting it for weight loss.
He says BC is carefully monitoring the situation to ensure the drug, which has been heavily promoted on North American television, is available to eligible patients with type 2 diabetes.
The minister says Ozempic is a “very good drug” that has been approved and covered for type 2 diabetes based on evidence from a “rigorous and independent trial”.
Dix said at a news conference the other drugs with newly expanded coverage are Jardiance, Forxiga and apixaban.
Forxiga and Apixaban are now covered under regular benefits where previously limited, while Jardiance’s limited coverage is expanded.
About nine percent of Ozempic issued in BC went to American patients, Dix said.
He said he’s asked the province’s PharmaCare program to review it “to make sure we’re … protecting Canadians in terms of access to these drugs.”
BC has not identified a shortage of Ozempic in insured patients, he added.
Expanded PharmaCare coverage from Ozempic and Jardiance means eligible patients now only need to try one other drug, metformin, before their doctor can request it, Dix announced Thursday.
A statement from the Department of Health said the changes are expected to benefit thousands of patients with heart failure, type 2 diabetes, blood clots and kidney disease.