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Grits push to OK treatment

Liberal health critic Diana Whalen called on the province Thursday tofund Lucentis, a drug to treat wet macular degeneration (AMD).

Liberal health critic Diana Whalen called on the province Thursday to fund Lucentis, a drug to treat wet macular degeneration (AMD).

AMD, a medical condition typically affecting the elderly, results in a loss of vision in the centre of the eye due to damage to the retina.

According to Whalen, Lucentis can not only stem the effects of the disease, but can also repair the damage.

Every province and territory in Canada currently covers the cost of Lucentis except Nova Scotia, according to Whalen.

“A Nova Scotian diagnosed with wet macular degeneration and unable to access the treatment will quickly lose their eyesight,” said Whalen.

Yvon La Croix, who suffers from AMD, said the treatment would cost him $2,000 for each of the six to eight treatments he required. Instead, he chose to receive the cheaper treatment of a drug called Avastin.

Avastin “has done marvelous” things for La Croix’s vision, but the drug, designed to treat colon cancer, does nothing to undo the damage already inflicted, Whalen said.

Health Minister Maureen MacDonald said she has met with many people who are looking for Lucentis coverage, and the government is looking to find a way to cover it.

 
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