Radicava Oral Suspension added to drug plans of 2 Canadian provinces

Cost covered in Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and Labrador

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by Mary Chapman |

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Two Canadian provinces — Prince Edward Island, and Newfoundland and Labrador — are covering the cost of the oral formulation of Radicava (edaravone) for eligible residents with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).

Patients will have access through their provincial drug plans to Radicava Oral Suspension, developed along with the infusion formulation by Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma. The medication will be covered by special authorization under the PEI Pharmacare Formulary as well as the Newfoundland and Labrador Prescription Drug Program.

Residents typically have a medicine copay, usually a small fee, to cover on their own.

“We would like to thank the Governments of Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador for supporting eligible patients living with ALS to have publicly funded access to Radicava Oral Suspension,” Andy Zylak, president of Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma Canada (MTP-CA), said in a company press release.

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MTP-CA is a subsidiary of Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma America, which commercializes Radicava formulations in the U.S. There, the oral therapy is sold under the brand name Radicava ORS.

“To date, Radicava Oral Suspension is listed on the majority of provincial public drug plans. MTP-CA will continue to work with the remaining provincial, territorial and federal drug plans to help ensure that Radicava Oral Suspension is listed on all public formularies across the country,” Zylak added.

Edaravone, the active ingredient in both the oral and infusion therapies, is a free radical scavenger that helps to clear the body of the reactive molecules that can led to oxidative stress, a type of damage implicated in ALS. Their removal is expected to lessen the motor neuron damage that causes muscle weakness and other ALS symptoms, helping to slow disease progression.

An intravenous formulation of Radicava was approved in Canada in 2018, becoming the first new ALS therapy available in the country in about 20 years. It is covered across Canadian provinces and territories, as well as through Veterans Affairs Canada and Indigenous Services Canada.

Health Canada approved Radicava Oral Suspension in 2022, providing ALS patients with a treatment seen as an easier, more convenient alternative to the infusion therapy. In addition to the two latest provinces, Radicava’s oral formulation is listed on public drug plans of Ontario, Quebec, Alberta, British Columbia, New Brunswick, Saskatchewan, and Nova Scotia.

“Access to new treatments plays a key role in helping people and their families live their best possible life in the face of an ALS diagnosis,” said Kathy MacNeill, past president of the ALS Society of Prince Edward Island.

According to MTP-CA, most private health insurance plans in the country also cover the oral medication.

“People living with ALS do not have the luxury of time to wait for access to new medications to slow the progression of their disease,” said Cheryl Power, executive director of the ALS Society of Newfoundland and Labrador. “For this reason, we’re pleased that people impacted by ALS in this province will now have publicly funded access to Radicava Oral Suspension.”