B.C. women cut off life-changing medication

Changes in health insurance coverage devastate Okanagan and Victoria women battling cystic fibrosis

As a result of swift and unexpected changes to their health insurance coverage, two Vernon residents have been left in a dire situation after learning their insurers have stopped covering the cost of Orkambi, a drug that has been proven to drastically improve the quality of life for people living with cystic fibrosis.

Currently, the Government of British Columbia does not cover the cost of Orkambi, despite it being approved by Health Canada and prescribed by doctors. This means that most people living with cystic fibrosis who could benefit from Orkambi are at the mercy of private insurance plans, and those without, are unable to afford it. Now, two women in the prime of their life face an uncertain future even though there is a medication available that can help them.

“Orkambi changed my life. I can do everyday things again: cook and prepare meals for my family, clean my own house, but most of all, my children have their mother back and my husband has the wife back that he was missing,” said Melissa Verleg, 34, a wife and mother of two from Vernon. “I am terrified of what will happen when I run out of Orkambi, as I only have enough to last me until Sept. 30. I don’t want to go back to being a spectator in life.”

Before Orkambi, Verleg struggled with such seemingly simple tasks and was even on life support in 2015 for six days when her lungs were no longer functioning. But since Orkambi her life has changed despite the rare genetic disease.

The same goes for Lilia Zaharieva.

“Because of Orkambi, for the first time in my life I can get through a day with energy, a smile, and fuller breath. It feels like someone has lifted a heavy load that I have been carrying all my life, and I wish this relief for everyone fighting Cystic Fibrosis in British Columbia,” said Zaharieva, 30, a student at the University of Victoria. “Since I have been on Orkambi, I have dared to plan for my future for the first time ever. It is not a cure, but now I have time to breathe. You can’t put a price on that.”

Cystic Fibrosis Canada strongly believes that it is in the best interest of the provincial government to ensure that their residents are healthy, allowing them to be active and productive members of the community.

Provincial health insurance covers a number of other costly drugs to the benefit of their residents and people with cystic fibrosis should be no exception.

CF Canada encourages the public to support Melissa (facebook.com/melissa.verleg) and Lilia (facebook.com/lzaharieva) by visiting their Facebook pages and sharing their story with B.C. Health Minister, Adrian Dix (facebook.com/adrian.dix1).

Just Posted

High construction costs send Douglas bus lane project $2.2 million higher

But re-tendered bid process by Victoria secures lower bid for Hillside-to-Tolmie stretch

Artwork inspires Glenlyon Norfolk student

A teen party turned philanthropic in the wake of an Artemis Place… Continue reading

Central Saanich veteran receives Legion of Honour from France

Kenneth Brind flew 30 bombing missions over France during the Second World War

Victoria hopes to have a fully electric bus fleet by 2030

Business plan to be created, region to request its use as a pilot community for project

Sooke rescinds bench letters, offers apology

District sent out letters asking $2000 for maintenance from those who purchased memorial benches

VIDEO: Oak Bay senior boys basketball takes Tsumura title

Junior and senior teams host Gary Taylor Classic starting Thursday

Horgan says pot smokers may face same outdoor rules as cigarette smokers

B.C. is developing its rules on recreational marijuana

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers naughty list for the week of Dec. 12

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Truck driver volunteers to take dog lost in B.C. back home to Alberta

Frankie, a pit bull service dog, was found wandering in the Lower Mainland

Ladysmith woman who jumped from ferry meets rescuers

A local artist who survived five hours in the frigid waters of… Continue reading

B.C. teacher suspended after explicit images projected to class

Jeffrey Rohin Muthanna had been viewing porn on a school laptop for two years

Man who pledged to give B.C. hockey team millions charged with fraud

Mike Gould has since repaid $8,000 he allegedly owed Cranbrook restaurant, owner says

Strong economy fuels housing sales in B.C.: report

Economist says demand for houses is being supported by a large number of millennials entering the market

Tequila, hammers and knives: what not to bring on an airplane

Vancouver International Airport staff provide tips on travelling during the holidays

Most Read