The Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension Foundation – Quebec (HTAPQ) expressed its disappointment with the decision made by the Institut National d’Excellence en Santé et Services Sociaux (INESSS), which didn’t include Opsumit (macitentan) on the list of medications covered by Quebec’s public drug insurance plan.
Opsumit is a prescription medicine used to treat PAH, a high blood pressure in the arteries of the lungs. The therapy is used to improve exercise ability, reduce some of the symptoms of PAH, help slow down the progression of the disease, and lower the chance of being hospitalized for PAH.
According to a recent news release on Canadian-based Newswire, in November of last year, Health Canada approved Opsumit for the long-term treatment of PAH, in order to reduce morbidity. The safety and efficacy of Opsumit were evaluated in a study in PAH patients, called SERAPHIN, the first long-term study to include a clearly defined, clinically-important morbidity/mortality primary endpoint. The effect of Opsumit on the morbidity and mortality endpoint was observed irrespective of whether or not patients were already treated with other therapies for PAH.
The President of the HTAPQ Foundation, Denis Cormier, expressed his sadness towards INESSS’s decision, arguing that patients should have access to treatments which have demonstrated effectiveness and have been approved by Health Canada.
Dr. David Langleben, Director of the Centre for Pulmonary Vascular Disease at the Montreal Jewish General Hospital, adds that all treatment options should be available to fully support PAH patients. More importantly, he considers, the selection of a treatment approach from several options should be decision made together by a patient and their doctor. And there’s also the fact that the complexity, rarity and rapid deterioration of quality of life of PAH demands an individualized approach to each patient.
The HTAPQ Foundation hopes that the government remains open to Opsumit as an additional treatment option by including it on the list of medications, providing publicly funded access for patients who could benefit from this treatment.