Negotiations on Evrysdi Availability, Pricing in Canada Now Complete

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by Steve Bryson PhD |

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Roche Canada has completed its negotiations with the pan-Canadian Pharmaceutical Alliance (pCPA) regarding the availability and pricing of Evrysdi (risdiplam), an approved once-a-day oral therapy for spinal muscular atrophy (SMA).

The pCPA is a nationwide organization in Canada that collaborates on various public drug plan initiatives to manage access to clinically effective and affordable treatments. With negotiations now complete, individual public drug plans in each Canadian province can now decide on the coverage and availability of Evrysdi for their SMA patients.

“Cure SMA Canada is delighted that Evrysdi has moved one step closer to being accessible to Canadian patients,” Susi Vander Wyk, executive director at Cure SMA Canada, said in a press release. “As a community, we look forward to the benefit of available treatment options, and meeting the needs for a wide range of SMA patients.”

“We encourage the provincial payers to recognize the treatment gap and offer a path for those still waiting,” Vander Wyk added.

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Québec will be the first Canadian province to fund Evrysdi. Following an endorsement from the Institut national d’excellence en santé et en services sociaux (INESSS) — an independent organization that issues reports to the government — last year, Québec’s minister of health and social services added the therapy to the Liste des médicaments (List of medications) and the Liste des médicaments – Établissements (List of Medications – Establishments), a published list of reimbursable medications. That decision was effective beginning Feb. 2.

Specific criteria for reimbursement can now be found on the Régie de l’assurance maladie du Québec (RAMQ) website.

“I am pleased to see such positive news for the SMA community,” said Xavier Rodrigue, MD, a physiatrist at the l’Institut de Réadaptation en Déficience Physique de Québec (IRDPQ).

“The successful completion of negotiations represents another step towards access to another treatment option that can improve quality of life for Canadians with SMA,” Rodrigue said.

According to Roche Canada, the company will continue to work with other provinces to make Evrysdi available to patients as soon as possible through public drug plans.

Most forms of SMA are caused by a genetically inherited deficiency in SMN, a protein found throughout the body that is essential to the nerves that control muscles. A lack of SMN leads to progressive muscle weakness, and, depending on the type of SMA, a patient’s ability to walk, eat, or breathe can be limited or lost.

Evrysdi, which was approved by Health Canada last year for all patients ages 2 months and older, is designed to address the underlying cause of SMA by increasing and maintaining the amount of SMN protein made by the body. Taken once a day, the therapy is a strawberry-flavored liquid administered by mouth or feeding tube.