A new ALS therapy medication is now being covered by B.C. PharmaCare.
Albrioza was added to PharmaCare formulary as a limited coverage benefit Wednesday (July 19), the provincial government announced. The new coverage is expected to benefit as many as 100 people in B.C. living with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, which is a rare and life-altering disease.
The medication is taken orally and works to slow disease progression and loss of functional decline in eligible people living with ALS.
The province says this expanded access builds on B.C.’s previous $4-million investment in the ALS Society of BC’s Project Hope which aims to establish a world-class ALS clinic at the University of British Columbia. The goal is for patient care, research and increased patient access to clinical trials.
There are two other therapies also available for ALS treatment: Edaravone (Radicava) is an intravenous formulation funded as a limited coverage benefit by B.C. PharmaCare since August 2020 and Riluzole (Rilutek and generics) which is also covered on an exceptional case-by-case basis.
ALS is a fatal neurodegenerative disease that gradually causes patients to lose the ability to move, speak, swallow and breathe. Patients are typically in their mid-to-late 50s when they present with symptoms and the average survival time ranges from 20 to 48 months.