Dorval-based Novartis Pharmaceuticals Canada Inc. welcomed the recent announcement by Health Minister Christian Dubé that his intravenous gene therapy for pediatric patients with spinal muscular atrophy is now covered by the Régie de l’assurance maladie du Québec (RAMQ).
“Zolgensma is the first gene therapy in Canada to be formally reimbursed by the government,” said a Novartis statement.
The company announced that the state’s public reimbursement for the use of the treatment came into effect on Oct. 20, “and will apply for children with SMA on the recommendation of the Institut national d’excellence en santé et services sociaux.”
Quebec’s announcement, the company says, includes a “pathway for children up to six months and individual access for children over six months.” The specific criteria for reimbursement will be added to the Liste des médicaments, available on the Régie de l’assurance maladie du Québec (RAMQ) website.
“This is a momentous day and we know the SMA community in Quebec has been waiting,” said Andrea Marazzi, Country Pharma Organization Head, Novartis Pharmaceuticals Canada. “I would like to thank the Quebec government for their leadership, both in acting quickly to cover Zolgensma, and in adopting the INESSS recommendations, which recognize the societal impact of unequal access due to delayed diagnoses for Quebec children with SMA.
“We believe that all Canadian children with SMA who may benefit from this treatment should be given the same opportunity and will continue to work with the provinces, territories and federal plans to provide timely and equitable public reimbursements.”
dr. Nicolas Chrestian, head of pediatric neurology specializing in neuromuscular diseases at the Center Hospitalier Mère Enfant Soleil, Université Laval in Québec City, said Dubé’s announcement “brings hope to the families under my care who have sought access to Zolgensma for their children.” .
“Rapid access to treatments like Zolgensma that can halt the progression of SMA is critical for children to reach their developmental potential and having the costs covered by the county helps some of the impact SMA can have on families.” to dispel.”