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Canadian patients with lung disease still dying without access to only treatment

Too many lives have been put at risk and lost to idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) in Canada since the Canadian Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation (CPFF) first took its fight for access to treatment to government policy.

This week, in advance of International Rare Disease Day on February 28th, Canadian IPF patients and caregivers are appealing again to their governments for urgent affordable universal access to Esbriet (pirfenidone), the first and only medicine approved in Canada to treat mild to moderate forms of IPF.

Esbriet has been proven to slow the progression of this rare, debilitating and ultimately fatal lung disease that scars the lungs so severely, patients are no longer able to breathe.

“When you have a disease that has a life expectancy of just a few years, the unfortunate reality is that these patients just can’t wait,” said Dr. Shane Shapera, Respirologist at Toronto General Hospital. “As it stands right now, I have two tiers of patients – those who have private insurance and can access treatment, and those without private insurance who cannot access treatment.

In actuality, IPF patients are running out of time, and sadly, many of them will likely die before they get a chance to start on therapy for their disease.”lung disease

Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is an interstitial lung disease with no known cause, characterized predominantly by fibrosis (scarring) of the lungs. In patients with IPF, the lung tissue becomes scarred and over time, the scarring becomes thicker and more widespread, causing the lungs to lose their ability to transfer oxygen into the bloodstream.

The Canadian Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation (CPFF) is a registered not-for-profit charitable organization established to provide support, hope and resources for those affected by pulmonary fibrosis.

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