15 Dec 2014

Update on Access to Multivitamins – in CANADA

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by Anchalee Srisombun, Health Policy Advisor
Cystic Fibrosis Canada

Health Canada has informed us that AquADEKs multivitamins are no longer available in Canada because the manufacturer has ceased supply of the product to the Canadian market. Over the past year, Cystic Fibrosis Canada has been working with the manufacturer and distributer to continue supply of AquADEKs as they applied for market authorization through Health Canada.

Due to the strength of multivitamins needed for optimum CF care, these products are classed as drugs by Health Canada, rather than natural health products and require a notice of compliance (NOC) to be marketed here. For a time, AquADEKs multivitamins were available through requests made by clinics to Health Canada’s Special Access Program (SAP), and were fully subsidized by the manufacturer as they sought a NOC.

With this development regarding AquADEKs, Cystic Fibrosis Canada and CF clinics have been working with Health Canada to seek alternative options. We identified MVW Complete Formulation Nutritionals by MVW Nutritionals as an acceptable substitute. Health Canada will now be approving SAP submissions for MVW Nutritionals multivitamins until the products receive an NOC. MVW multivitamins are available in three forms – chewable, softgel and pediatric drops.

We encourage patients to speak to their clinic regarding access to MVW multivitamins. While the supply of multivitamins for CF will now resume in Canada, MVW multivitamins are not covered on public drug formularies. We recognize that this is a financial burden to patients and families and are working with our Policy Advisory Panel on Access to Medicines and Provincial Advocates to find avenues for reimbursement of these products. Talks have already begun with Health Canada and MVW Nutritionals and we will be starting discussions with the provinces in the coming weeks.

Please stay tuned to the Advocacy Blog as we continue to provide updates on this file.