Vernon woman not giving up fight for costly cystic fibrosis drug - InfoNews

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Vernon woman not giving up fight for costly cystic fibrosis drug

Melissa Verleg (front centre) rallies outside the B.C. Legislature Nov. 29, 2017.
Image Credit: Contributed
November 29, 2017 - 2:30 PM

VERNON - Vernon’s Melissa Verleg is raising her voice for the medication she needs.

Verleg, 34, suffers from cystic fibrosis and takes an expensive drug called Orkambi to reduce the effects of the debilitating disease. But the mother of two only has enough of the drug to last until January; neither the province nor her health insurer will cover it.

READ MORE: 'I am terrified': Vernon woman days away from running out of life-changing drug 

Verleg brought her plight to the steps of the B.C. Legislature today, where she is imploring Health Minister Adrian Dix to fund the drug.

Cystic Fibrosis Canada has given Verleg its full support and backing.

Melissa Verleg on her way to Victoria.
Melissa Verleg on her way to Victoria.
Image Credit: Contributed

 
“The Cystic Fibrosis community in British Columbia has had enough: it’s time for the provincial government to pay more attention to the needs of people living with (Cystic Fibrosis) by helping them access life-changing drugs, specifically Orkambi, and increasing funding for Cystic Fibrosis clinics,” spokesperson Phil Norris says in a release. “Cystic Fibrosis Canada hopes that the government will use their power to help change a broken system that has left people living with Cystic Fibrosis in this province in a dire situation.”

Norris says Minister Adrian Dix was invited to attend the rally so “he can hear first-hand what it means for his residents to be able access the drugs they need to survive.”

One effect of cystic fibrosis is decreased lung function over time. Orkambi slows that progression, Verleg says. Without it, she says her lungs will deteriorate faster and shorten her life span. 

Orkambi costs about $255,000 per patient annually. 

Read past stories about Orkambi here. 


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