British Columbia’s Pharmacare program will expand its drug coverage for hepatitis C treatments in March as a result of successful negotiations brokered by the pan-Canadian Pharmaceutical Alliance.

PharmaCare is expanding the criteria to provide coverage to more patients living with the disease in March. From 2018, PharmaCare will provide coverage for any British Columbian living with chronic hepatitis C, regardless of the type or severity of their disease.

“This agreement changes the landscape for hepatitis C patients living in B.C.,” said Terry Lake, the province’s health minister, in a statement. “Not only are there four new treatment options for what is now a curable virus, but the savings that were negotiated will allow us to cover treatment options for all hepatitis C patients — rather than just those in more advanced stages of the disease.”

Read: Hep C drugs linked to hep B reactivation: study

The pan-Canadian Pharmaceutical Alliance, led by British Columbia and Ontario, completed the negotiations with three hepatitis C drug manufacturers in February. As with all of the alliance’s drug negotiations, individual participating jurisdictions will be responsible for implementing changes under their respective public drug plans, according to a news release.

The list cost to the health system for hepatitis C treatment has ranged from $45,000 to over $100,000 per patient, depending on the drug and disease progression, noted the release.

Effective March 1, 2017, British Columbia will also decrease the maximum markup for certain hepatitis C drugs covered by PharmaCare, including Harvoni, Sovaldi, Holkira Pak and Galexos.

Copyright © 2018 Transcontinental Media G.P. Originally published on

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