Little girl with rare disease had been rejected for funding previously
Beacon Reporter AB | August 12, 2013
The Alberta government has agreed to pay for the treatment of Aleena Sadownyk, who suffers from a rare disease.
After a month of impassioned pleas and lobbying the provincial government, Alberta Health will fund the necessary medical treatment for Aleena Sadownyk – a St. Albert girl with a rare medical condition.
Three-year-old Sadownyk has Maroteaux-Lamy Syndrome, a rare disease that causes cellular waste to build up in her joints and around her heart, restricting movements and damaging organs. A drug called Naglazyme will help, but while it is used in the United Sates, it has not been approved in Canada.
Early estimates indicated it could cost anywhere from $300,000 to $1 million a year to administer the drug, which Aleena Sadownyk would need to help fight the disease. Sadownyk’s parents had been pushing the government to pay for the treatment, along with dozens of others including opposition parties who joined the fight.
On Monday morning, Sadownyk’s father Dane said that the province had agreed to fund the treatment.
“The past few weeks have been very difficult for us, but we can now focus on improving Aleena’s well-being and look forward to her having a bright future ahead,” he said in a statement released by the Isaac Foundation – a patient advocacy group.
Aleena Sadownyk had been denied funding originally through the Alberta Rare Diseases Funding program back in July. During the last two weeks, all of Alberta’s opposition parties called on Health Minister Fred Horne to authorize the treatment.
“It is with tremendous joy that I thank all those who pushed so hard for the government to approve this life-saving treatment for Aleena,” said Wildrose health critic Heather Forsyth in a statement Monday morning.
“I hope that this painful ordeal for the Sadownyk family will lead to better approval processes for rare disease treatment in our province. We owe it to all Albertans to make sure that their health care system is there for them when rare diseases strike and extremely expensive treatments are their only hope.”
A spokesman with Alberta Health confirmed late Monday that the province will be paying for the drug to treat Sadownyk. The province was waiting for a clinical review to be completed on the benefits of Naglazyme before agreeing to fund it, said John Muir.
“We’ve come back now and carefully considered the circumstances and looked at that clinical review and we will now be funding Naglazyme for this individual,” he said. “We don’t want to be in a situation where we’re rushing any type of medical review on it. We want to make sure patient safety is put first and foremost and ensure it’s the best option for any individual.”
It has been reported that nine children in Canada are currently afflicted by Maroteaux-Lamy Syndrome. The cost of covering the Nagalyzme for Aleena Sadownyk will be around $300,000 a year.