Ted Arnott, MPP
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 6, 2013
Approval for funding of new Cystic Fibrosis
drug should be expedited
(Queen’s Park) – The Ontario Government should expedite approval for funding of KALYDECO, a
new medication which has shown great promise in treating some forms of Cystic Fibrosis, says
Wellington-Halton Hills MPP Ted Arnott.
During Question Period on May 2, Mr. Arnott questioned Health Minister Deb Matthews about what
her Ministry was doing to ensure that CF patients will soon have access to this new medication.
“We learned in late March that the Canadian Drug Expert Committee has recommended that
KALYDECO be placed on the formulary and be publicly funded for the treatment of cystic fibrosis
patients aged six and older who have this genetic mutation. What is the minister doing to ensure
that cystic fibrosis patients in Ontario who could potentially recover their health have access to
KALYDECO?” Mr. Arnott asked.
KALYDECO is a new drug which has demonstrated great promise in treating Cystic Fibrosis patients
who have the G551D mutation. However, the cost of KALYDECO is not currently covered by the
Mr. Arnott, who had previously raised this issue in the Legislature in late March, told the House that
patients such as Georgetown resident Madison Phipps would benefit greatly from the medication.
“Will the minister commit to this House that she will undertake to do all that she can to expedite the
process, giving hope to CF patients across this province?” Mr. Arnott asked.
However, despite the importance of the issue, Mr. Arnott felt that the Minister of Health’s answers
“I was particularly disappointed by the Minister’s very partisan response to my second question,” Mr.
Arnott noted afterwards. “This is a serious issue that directly affects the lives of CF patients such as
Maddie Phipps. I appreciate the strong interest and support that my colleague, Halton MPP Ted
Chudleigh, has shown. I intend to continue raising this issue and I hope that once the Minister takes
some time to think about it again, she will take the appropriate action.”
A video of Mr. Arnott’s questions and the Minister’s response is available at:
(Attached: The Hansard record of Mr. Arnott’s question and the Minister’s response, May 2, 2013)
– 30 –
Ontario Hansard – 02-May 2013
Mr. Ted Arnott: My question is for the Minister of Health. Just before Christmas I emailed the minister’s
office to inquire about the approval process for funding for Kalydeco, a new medication that shows great
promise in the treatment of cystic fibrosis patients who have the G551D mutation. When the House
resumed sitting on February 20, I spoke to the minister personally, informing her of the issue and asking
for her help. I spoke to her again on March 20 and I raised it in the Legislature during debate on March
26. We learned in late March that the Canadian Drug Expert Committee has recommended that Kalydeco
be placed on the formulary and be publicly funded for the treatment of cystic fibrosis patients aged six
and older who have this genetic mutation. What is the minister doing to ensure that cystic fibrosis patients
in Ontario who could potentially recover their health have access to Kalydeco?
Hon. Deborah Matthews: Thank you to the member opposite for this question. I know many of us in this
Legislature advocate for patients who are looking for access to drugs that are not currently covered. I
think it’s important to acknowledge that our drug budget is now $4.4 billion. That’s a significant increase,
an increase of $1.4 billion since we took office. We’re covering more drugs, and we’re covering drugs for
I think the member opposite does understand that this is a process. I’ve explained it to him before. We
have actually taken these decisions out of the hands of politicians and put these decisions into the hands
of experts. That is the right thing to do, and I look forward to updating the member on this particular drug.
The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Supplementary?
Mr. Ted Arnott: I want to make it clear it was never my intention to politicize this issue. I first raised
this with the minister last December and it’s now May. The need for funding for Kalydeco for CF patients
was brought to my attention by a constituent, Shelley Phipps, from Georgetown. Her 17-year-old
daughter, Madison, has cystic fibrosis. In her young life, she has spent more than 250 days in the hospital.
I have met with a representative of Kalydeco’s manufacturer, Vertex, and I’ve communicated with CF
Foundation. I’ve even met a CF patient named Chris MacLeod, who is a lawyer in Toronto who has gotten
his life back because of Kalydeco. I want to do everything I can to help.
Will the minister commit to this House that she will undertake to do all that she can to expedite the
process, giving hope to CF patients across this province?
Hon. Deborah Matthews: I can assure you that I will do everything I can to ensure that the process is
being followed in this case.
You know, we have a budget coming down this afternoon. One of the things we talk about in a budget is,
can we afford to spend more to care for more people? Our government is very clear: We are prepared to
spend more to support more people with their health care needs.
It’s disappointing when I hear from the member opposite, who’s going to vote against the budget even
though they haven’t even read it. Their plan is to cut spending. Our plan is to continue on a steady path to