The Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension Foundation - Quebec is deeply concerned with INESSS recommendation

PLESSISVILLE, QC, June 3, 2014 /CNW Telbec/ - The Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension Foundation - Quebec (HTAPQ) was extremely disappointed with the recommendation made yesterday by the Institut national d'excellence en santé et services sociaux (INESSS), which decided not to include Opsumit (macitentan) on the list of medications covered by Quebec's public drug insurance plan.

The President of the HTAPQ Foundation, Denis Cormier, says he was saddened to learn that patients will be deprived of this important treatment option. "If new treatments which demonstrate therapeutic effectiveness are approved by Health Canada, patients should have access to them. Studies on Opsumit provide long-term data, which brings a lot of hope to patients and their families."

Dr. David Langleben, Director of the Centre for Pulmonary Vascular Disease at the Montreal Jewish General Hospital, oversees one of only two clinics in Quebec which specializes in PAH, a clinic that brings together many patients. "To be able to fully support our patients, all treatment options should be made available," says Dr. Langleben. "Moreover, an individualized approach is appropriate since each patient's medical team is unique due to the complexity, rarity and rapid deterioration of quality of life in pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) patients. The selection of a treatment approach from among several options should be a decision made together by a patient and their doctor. Easy access to approved medication is what is best for patients' health."

Ms. Sandy Vachon, a mother of two who was diagnosed with PAH in 2013 at the age of 27, can attest to the need for access to treatment options. "Any additional and effective medication that improves quality of life and reduces the progression of the disease must be accessible. As a patient, it is very disturbing to learn that treatments that could have a significant impact on our lives are not reimbursed. Considering the fact that each patient's situation is unique, having access to the latest treatments and to several options, allows for the possibility of an optimal treatment plan," says Ms. Vachon.

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. "If a new option exists and has been medically proven, it must be accessible," says Mr. Cormier.

Opsumit and SERAPHIN
Opsumit (macitentan) was approved in November 2013 by Health Canada for the long-term treatment of pulmonary arterial hypertension to reduce morbidity. The new oral tablet administered once daily is a novel dual endothelin receptor antagonist (ERA). The safety and efficacy of Opsumit were evaluated in the largest and longest randomized, placebo-controlled study in PAH patients called SERAPHIN, and 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.

About Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension (PAH)
Pulmonary arterial hypertension (or PAH) is a rare disease affecting the arteries of the lungs. When an individual has PAH, the arteries of their lungs become narrowed and scarred. This can result in almost complete closing of the arteries, which can lead to heart failure. Some symptoms of PAH are shortness of breath; bluish hands, feet and lips; swelling of hands and feet; light-headedness and dizziness; chest pain; exhaustion and fainting. Because it shares many symptoms with other diseases, PAH is often misdiagnosed. PAH is a terminal disease for which there is currently no cure.

HTAPQ Foundation
The Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension Foundation - Quebec is a non-profit organization created in November 2006. Its mission is to facilitate the relationship between patients and caregivers, to support through the help of medical equipment or funding for patients, and to increase public awareness of PAH, while advocating for the best possible care and treatment for patients. www.htapquebec.ca

SOURCE LA FONDATION HYPERTENSION ARTÉRIELLE PULMONAIRE - QUÉBEC

For further information:

please contact:

Denis Cormier | HTAPQ Foundation | 819-362-6275 | info@htapquebec.ca