WATCH: A Saanich family is desperately hoping Pharmacare will cover a Crohn’s treatment that would otherwise cost them nearly $45,000 a year. April Lawrence reports.
Life changed drastically for the Ozard family seven years ago. They had spent the years before trying desperately to find a treatment for their son Tristin’s Crohn’s disease.
“It was about five year of hospitalization, extended periods, being told he wouldn’t survive,” said Tristin’s mom Melissa Ozard.
Then they discovered Remicade — a biologic drug that actually put his disease into remission.
“There is so much less pain, so much less nausea, and I could just really enjoy doing things and get things done,” Tristin, now 20-years-old, said.
Everything was going well for Tristan until he recently aged out of pediatric care. Now he will have to apply to PharmaCare for his prescription but the dose he requires is so high they will only cover half. That means the Ozard’s would have to pay nearly $4000 per month to keep him on it.
“If he doesn’t get access to his medication we would expect in six to seven weeks he’ll be back highly inflamed in the hospital,” said Melissa.
There are a few other options — one is switch Tristin to a similar, and much cheaper drug, called Inflectra. But any medication switch comes with risk.
“I don’t want to go back to that really unstable place of not knowing what my health is going to be like tomorrow, or the next day, or even in a few hours,” Tristin said.
The family says another option is to have the pharmaceutical company that makes Remicade cover the extra cost in exchange for Tristin’s medical records. Since he has multiple disabilities, he says that isn’t an option he’ll consider.
“It means that anything I say to any of my doctors is not private, it’s not confidential, it’s out there for whoever to see it and for a company to profit off of if they see fit,” said Tristin.
The Ozard’s are hoping PharmaCare will make an exception and cover Tristin’s full prescription so he can keep his disease in remission, and hopefully, start college in the fall.
“I just want to learn and find out what I can do for the world.”