WATCH: A dramatic exchange occurred between a Vancouver Island mom desperate to get help for her young son and British Columbia’s health minister. Tess van Straaten reports.
The Greater Victoria mother of a very sick little boy confronted B.C.’S health minister Wednesday night.
“I would assume you know who I am,” Jill Lanthier said to Adrian Dix at a town hall meeting in Sidney. “I have a six-year-old boy and he’s been denied three times for a medication that costs $19,000 a month.”
Lanthier was demanding answers about why a drug that might be able to help her son Landen Alexa’s rare and painful form of juvenile arthritis won’t be covered by the province.
“On the Fair Pharmacare website it says B.C. residents are protected from astronomical pharmaceutical costs,” Lanthier said. “That has not been Landon’s case and it’s devastating for me on a recurrent basis to have to keep fighting for my child.”
Lanthier’s emotional plea resulted in applause from the crowd, which included dozens of supporters carrying “don’t abandon Landen” signs.
“All we’re asking for is some heart and will to help this little boy and you haven’t done it,” one supporter yelled at Dix.
But the health minister held his ground.
“If anyone thinks we haven’t paid attention to this, to Landon and lots of other cases, you bet we have!” an animated Dix responded. “If the case becomes the minister of health making medical decisions and overruling doctors, I don’t think anyone agrees with that.”
Dix says B.C. spends $1.4 billion on prescription drugs and review committees can’t say yes to everyone.
“We have pharmaceutical companies who charging outrageous amounts for drugs ? outrageous amounts ? we would bankrupt what we can do,” Dix said.
But Landen’s mom says the committee that made this decision only treats adults and she wants Dix to send the case to pediatric rheumatologists to review.
“At this point, I think he needs to step in because the medical professionals on the committee have gone against what Landon’s medical team has said,” Lanthier said.