Eye program saves millions, government says

Above: Sarah Hoffman, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health with Dr. Amin Kherani and Rebecca Bailer at Calgary Retina Consultants clinic to announce the addition of a new drug to the RAPID program.

by Morinville News Staff

The government is expanding a pilot project it says has made life better for more than 14,000 Albertans facing vision loss while saving millions of dollars.

The province launched the Retina Anti-Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor Program for Intraocular Disease (RAPID) in the fall of 2015 in partnership with the Retina Society of Alberta.

The pilot project gave patients with retinal conditions, including macular degeneration two different treatment options: Lucentis and Avastin.

By offering a wider range of medication options providing the same clinical benefit, the government says it has saved more than $20 million in tax dollars. Those options expanded Aug. 1.

“This government is working hard to protect and improve health care by listening to patients and clinicians and using evidence to guide its decisions,” said Sarah Hoffman, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health in a release Wednesday. “By partnering with retinal specialists, we are providing more Albertans with access to retinal eye care and more treatment options while saving millions of tax dollars at the same time.”

The addition of Eylea to the RAPID program will not result in additional costs or savings
because the province’s initial estimates included the medication.

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