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Drug coverage for diabetes, heart failure and blood clot prevention expands in B.C.

More than 30,000 patients to now have access to coverage from 2023 changes
FILE - This July 6, 2017 file photo shows prescription drugs in a glass flask at the state crime lab in Taylorsville, Utah. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File)

B.C. has announced that its PharmaCare program is expanding to include medications for those with Type 2 diabetes, heart failure and blood clots.

Effective Thursday (Jan. 5) drug coverage for dapagliflozin – used to treat heart failure, Type 2 diabetes and chronic kidney disease – will no longer just be available for 2,000 B.C. patients who face heart failure with “reduced ejection fractions” and instead be considered a regular benefit within the program, now available to as many as 5,000 more patients this year.

Apixaban – a blood thinner used to prevent blood clots – has also been available to 45,000 people, but by being made a regular benefit will now be available to roughly 24,000 more people in the province.

Meanwhile, two other medications called empagliflozin and semaglutide will have their limited coverage expanded for those with Type 2 diabetes. Before this year, patients would only have access to these options after trying metformin and either a sulfonylurea drug or insulin without success in controlling their blood sugar levels.

With these new changes, British Columbians will only need to try one option before a physician can request further coverage through the program.

“The changes will ensure that coverage is aligned with clinical evidence and will improve patient access to appropriate medications,” an information bulletin from the ministry of health read.


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