|Aubagio approved in Nova Scotia to treat MS|
Nova Scotia has become the first province in Atlantic Canada to cover the cost of a new drug for multiple sclerosis, a pill called Aubagio.
Dorothyanne Brown currently uses a daily injection to treat her form of the disease called relapsing remitting MS.
“It’s sneaky,” she said. “You inject it and then the liquid burns. It does tissue damage.”
Brown is one of the 3,400 Nova Scotians living with the disease.
The province of Nova Scotia has agreed to cover the cost of the new treatment in pill form, Aubagio.
Taken daily, it’s a relief in more ways than one for patients like Brown.
“If you have to pay for your medication, the Copaxone I have to take costs $2,000 a month. If you have to pay for Aubagio, it’s more expensive than that,” she said.
Manufactured by the French pharmaceutical giant Sanofi, Health Canada approved Aubagio in 2013.
Like the injections, it is not a cure, but a disease modification therapy or DMT as it is known. It slows the progression of the disease.
The Department of Health says this will not add to the $12 million spent each year on MS drugs, but serve as a replacement.
Dena Simon with the Atlantic Division MS Society of Canada says it’s another chance for a normal life for MS patients.
“It’s the onset of disability we are trying to slow down and these medications, these DMTs slowly reduce the number of episodes and reduce their severity,” she explained.
Like all MS drugs, Aubagio does not work on the degenerative form of the disease. There is no treatment for progressive MS.