Yukon to cover new drug that reduces multiple sclerosis symptoms

Aubagio, a drug used to prolong abilities of people with relapsing remitting MS, is now covered under the Yukon Government's drug plan. It costs $1,500 per month of treatment.

Aubagio is used to prolong abilities of people with relapsing remitting MS

Aubagio, a drug used to prolong abilities of people with relapsing remitting MS, is now covered under the Yukon Government's drug plan. (Mark Blinch/Reuters)

The Yukon Government has decided to cover the cost of Aubagio, a pill used to treat symptoms of multiple sclerosis.

Aubagio prolongs the physical abilities of people with relapsing remitting multiple sclerosis, or RRMS.

The cost of the drug – about $1,500 per month – used to be an obstacle for some people, according to Jenny Roberts, president of the Yukon Multiple Sclerosis Association.

Roberts, who lives with RRMS, says the drug can have a significant impact on the nearly 200 residents of the territory living with multiple sclerosis. Aubagio reduces flare-ups of MS symptoms by as much as 30 per cent.

"If it slows down progression and disability to that percentage, than it means more people can stay in the workforce that much longer and live more of a healthy, normal lifestyle," she says.

Alan Macklon also lives with multiple sclerosis, but not the same kind as Roberts. Still, he says it's nice to have options other than injections.

According to the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada, MS is thought to be an autoimmune disease of the central nervous system. People with MS are usually diagnosed between the ages of 15 and 40.

Previously, people had to qualify under the Yukon's Chronic Disease Program to be covered for Aubagio. Now, patients will no longer have to wait to be accepted into the program before receiving government assistance.

Yukon is the first territory to add Aubagio to its drug plan benefits, joining Quebec, Ontario, Alberta, Nova Scotia, and Saskatchewan.

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