FREDERICTON (GNB) – The provincial government has established the New Brunswick Drugs for Rare Diseases Plan which will provide assistance to those with certain rare diseases who face high drug costs.

“The cost of drugs to treat rare diseases can sometimes reach a million dollars per year per patient, and often, due to the rarity of the conditions, demonstrating a drug’s efficacy through clinical trials is difficult,” said Health Minister Hugh Flemming. “These factors make it unlikely that these drugs would be covered under most drug plans. I am pleased that our government was able to bring forward this plan which will help alleviate the financial burden of those with these rare diseases.”

New Brunswick will partner with Ontario to deliver the plan using its Drugs for Rare Diseases Framework. The framework was established to assess drugs using the best available evidence and recommend drugs for funding based on clinical criteria.

The plan will cover the cost of five drugs for specific rare diseases:

  • Aldurazyme for the treatment of Hurler and Hurler-Scheie forms of Mucopolysaccharidosis I;
  • Elaprase for the treatment of Hunter Syndrome;
  • Ilaris for the treatment of Cryopyrin-Associated Periodic Syndrome;
  • Myozyme for the treatment of Pompe disease; and
  • Zavesca for the treatment of Niemann Pick Type C.

There will be no cost to patients. The plan will cost the government between $1 million and $4 million annually depending on usage.

Applications are available by calling 1-800-332-3692. The plan will begin accepting applications on Aug. 1.