B.C. to assess $700,000 annual drug cost for rare disease: minister

VICTORIA - The British Columbia government says it will pay for a drug that costs $700,000 a year for some sufferers of a rare disease.

Health Minister Adrian Dix said Monday his ministry will assess whether to cover the medication on a case-by-case basis.

The drug Soliris treats symptoms for atypical hemolytic uremic syndrome, a rare disease that can damage vital organs.

The syndrome causes the body to build a protein that attacks healthy cells and affects between two and four B.C. residents annually.

The case of 23-year-old Shantee Anaquod, who is in hospital after being diagnosed with the disease, has been the focus of media attention recently.

Dix says he can't comment on individual cases, but adds an expensive drugs advisory committee will now review requests for the drug for individuals and make funding recommendations to the ministry.

He says the ministry strongly objects to the cost of the drug set by the pharmaceutical company.

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