Quebec reimburses VIDAZA for treatment of blood cancer

VIDAZA Demonstrates Unprecedented Overall Survival in Intermediate-2 and High-Risk Myelodysplastic Syndromes, as Well as Acute Myeloid Leukemia

Quebec patients with serious blood cancers (intermediate-2 and high-risk myelodysplastic syndrome and acute myeloid leukemia) now have publicly funded access to a new innovative therapy, VIDAZA® (azacitidine).  Following a priority review and subsequent positive recommendation from the Conseil du medicament, patients now have the potential to significantly extend survival.

"This decision by the Quebec government is exciting news for patients and will make a huge difference in the way the disease is managed," said Chris Meyer, President, Aplastic Anemia and Myelodysplasia Association of Canada (AAMAC). "We would like to see more Canadians living with MDS and AML benefit from this treatment and we hope that all other provinces follow in the footsteps of Quebec, Ontario, British Columbia and Alberta which also have added VIDAZA to their provincial formularies."

VIDAZA is now reimbursed in Quebec for the treatment of adult patients with intermediate-2 and high-risk myelodysplastic syndrome and acute myeloid leukemia with 20-30% blasts and multi-lineage dysplasia who are not eligible for hematopoietic stem cell transplantation. It represents a new generation of cancer treatments in Canada because it is the first drug that works via epigenetics to restore the normal function of genes that regulate cell growth and development. VIDAZA is the first proven treatment that alters the natural history of these diseases.

"This is without a doubt an important development in the way we treat people with higher-risk MDS and AML," said Dr. Robert Delage, Associate Professor in the Department of Medicine at l'Université Laval and Head of le Centre universitaire d'hématologie et d'oncologie de Québec, at the Hôpital de l'Enfant-Jésus in Québec City. "With VIDAZA we can treat the underlying cause of the disease, rather than merely the symptoms by affecting changes at the genetic level and offer patients, not only freedom from frequent blood transfusions and an improved quality of life, but also a proven chance to live longer."

Celgene is committed to helping to improve the quality of life of people living with rare blood disorders in Canada and will continue to work with officials in all provinces and territories to secure reimbursement for VIDAZA through provincial drug plans.


The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
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