CNIB applauds recent provincial and territorial announcements about wet AMD treatment in Canada

    National vision health charity encourages remaining provinces and
    territories to cover sight-saving treatment for wet AMD

    TORONTO, April 15 /CNW/ - CNIB congratulates the governments of
Saskatchewan, British Columbia, Newfoundland and Labrador and the Yukon, all
of which have recently issued announcements regarding the provision of
Lucentis, a groundbreaking treatment for wet age-related macular degeneration
(AMD), under their provincial/territorial health plans. Wet AMD is an eye
disease that causes severe and rapid loss of central vision. It currently
affects 100,000 people in Canada, and every week 60 more Canadians lose their
sight because of the disease.
    "CNIB is delighted that many more Canadians with wet AMD now have much
better access to this sight-saving medication," said John M. Rafferty,
President and CEO, CNIB. "The governments of Saskatchewan, British Columbia,
Newfoundland and Labrador, and Yukon are to be commended. They have now joined
Ontario and Quebec to provide the gold standard of treatment to prevent
permanent vision loss from this devastating disease."
    Saskatchewan and the Yukon are already covering Lucentis in their health
plans. The government of Newfoundland and Labrador recently made a budget
announcement that committed the province to reimbursing the treatment in the
future. British Columbia will be adding the treatment to its formulary
effective June 1 this year.
    Lucentis has been clinically proven to restore lost vision for many
people with wet AMD and was approved by Health Canada in 2007. Forty per cent
of Lucentis-treated wet AMD patients experience a clinically significant
sustained improvement in vision, while 95 per cent maintain their vision.
    "CNIB strongly encourages Canada's remaining provinces and territories to
reimburse this groundbreaking medication as soon as possible," said Dr. Keith
Gordon, Vice President Research and Service Development, CNIB. "Treatment
should not depend on where you live - and every week of delay means many more
Canadians with wet AMD are needlessly going blind."
    Lucentis was approved for coverage under the provincial health plan in
Quebec in 2007. The Ontario government approved it in March 2008. Lucentis is
also reimbursed under government drug plans in the United States, Australia,
the United Kingdom, Switzerland and France.

    AMD is the leading cause of blindness in Canada, contributing
substantially to the billions of dollars in direct and indirect health costs
associated with vision loss in the country each year. It affects one million
Canadians - more than breast cancer, prostate cancer, Parkinson's and
Alzheimer's disease combined. Wet AMD is responsible for 90 per cent of the
severe vision loss associated with AMD.

    CNIB is a nationwide, community-based, registered charity committed to
public education, research and the vision health of all Canadians. CNIB
provides the services and support necessary to enjoy a good quality of life
while living with vision loss. Visit or call 1-800-563-2642 to
learn more.

For further information:

For further information: Yeena Peng, CNIB, (416) 486-2500 ext. 8355,

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