Pharma Focus America

Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma Canada's Oral Treatment for ALS Added to British Columbia's Provincial Drug Plan

Saturday, August 19, 2023

Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma Canada (MTP-CA), a subsidiary of Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma America, Inc. (MTPA), has recently announced that RADICAVA® Oral Suspension (edaravone) is now covered under the British Columbia PharmaCare's special authority. This coverage is intended for the treatment of individuals living with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a rapidly progressive neurodegenerative disease.

"We want to express our gratitude to the Government of British Columbia for their decision to make RADICAVA® Oral Suspension available to those who are eligible for coverage under BC PharmaCare," said Andy Zylak, the President of MTP-CA. Zylak also mentioned, "This news is a significant step forward for the ALS community in the province. We are committed to collaborating with decision-makers to ensure that RADICAVA® Oral Suspension becomes accessible through all publicly funded drug plans."

The effectiveness of RADICAVA® Oral Suspension is established through a study that compared its bioavailability and bioequivalence to RADICAVA® IV. The latter received authorization from Health Canada in October 2018 for the treatment of ALS patients and demonstrated a notable slowing of physical function loss by 33% in a pivotal trial. Currently, RADICAVA® IV Infusion is covered by public formularies across Canada, including provinces, territories, Veterans Affairs Canada, Indigenous Services Canada, and Correctional Service Canada.

According to the ALS Society of Canada, it is estimated that around 3,000 Canadians are currently living with ALS, an incurable disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord. The majority of individuals diagnosed with ALS typically live for two to five years after diagnosis. The symptoms of ALS can be subtle initially, and the average time for a diagnosis in Canada is approximately 21 months.

Wendy Toyer, the Executive Director of ALS Society of British Columbia, emphasized the importance of equitable and timely access to approved treatment options for ALS patients. Toyer applauded the Government of British Columbia's decision to reimburse RADICAVA® Oral Suspension and urged other provinces to quickly follow suit to provide the same access to ALS patients across the country.

Aside from British Columbia, RADICAVA® Oral Suspension is also included in the public drug plans of Ontario, Alberta, and Québec. It is believed that the majority of private insurance plans in the country also cover RADICAVA® Oral Suspension. MTP-CA is actively engaged in discussions with other provinces, territories, and federal agencies to expand the availability of RADICAVA® Oral Suspension within publicly funded drug programs.

Both RADICAVA® IV and RADICAVA® Oral Suspension have been approved for the treatment of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) patients. The discovery and development of edaravone specifically for ALS was carried out by Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma Corporation (MTPC) over a period of 13 years using an iterative clinical development approach. This led to the approval of edaravone as an ALS treatment in Japan and South Korea in 2015. Subsequently, RADICAVA® received approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in May 2017.

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