Toronto, ON, March 6, 2019 – Food Allergy Canada welcomes the recommendations and “foundational elements” included in the Implementation of National Pharmacare’s interim report released yesterday by Dr. Eric Hoskins and Ministers Bill Morneau and Ginette Pettipas Taylor. These measures, if adopted, will greatly benefit many individuals and families who have children with food allergies and who might not be able to afford an epinephrine auto-injector (e.g. EpiPen®, AUVI-Q®).
“Recommendations provided in this interim report are a positive sign that Canadians with food allergies may soon have one less worry: whether they will be able to afford life-saving epinephrine medication,” said Jennifer Gerdts, Executive Director of Food Allergy Canada. “We believe strongly that everyone who requires this medication should have access to it, regardless of price or ability to pay.”
Food allergies are a growing public health concern affecting more than 2.6 million Canadians. Given that even a small amount of an allergen, if ingested, could cause a serious allergic reaction and be potentially life-threatening, access to epinephrine auto injectors is essential. In the event of a reaction, research has shown that early administration of this medication can reduce the severity of symptoms and improve an individual’s outcome. Quick access and prompt administration of epinephrine may mean the difference between life and death.
Canadians at risk of an anaphylactic reaction should carry an epinephrine auto-injector with them at all times in case of an emergency. While we are fortunate to live in a country with a strong public health care system, we recognize that there are Canadians who are not covered by a private or public drug plan and may not be able to afford an auto-injector. For those who are covered by a drug plan, issues of deductible costs or annual limits on epinephrine auto-injectors may also cause financial challenges.
In addition to the issue of affordability, Food Allergy Canada looks forward to more details and discussion around the establishment of a national drug agency and national formulary, both of which could influence how Canadians with food allergies learn about, have access to, and afford current and future medications and treatments.
Food Allergy Canada recognizes this is an interim report, and that there are more details to be considered before Canadians enjoy the benefits of comprehensive, portable prescription drug coverage. We will continue to provide our input to the Task Force and work with the Minister of Health on implementation.
“We look forward to a federal drug policy that allows for greater access to epinephrine and any new or emerging therapies and treatments in the future, all of which would greatly help to improve the quality of life for individuals and families living with food allergy,” said Gerdts.
About Food Allergy Canada
Food Allergy Canada is a non-profit charitable organization dedicated to helping Canadians with food allergies and those who care for them. The organization is committed to creating a safer world for people with potentially life-threatening allergies through education, advocacy, and research. The organization’s approach to reducing the risk of allergic reactions in both children and adults is focused on self-management, community engagement, understanding, and respect. For more information, please visit foodallergycanada.ca.
For more information please contact:
Empower Consulting, for Food Allergy Canada
416 996-0767/ 514 844-0664