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Ontario man says medication he's been taking for a decade just quadrupled in price

An Ontario man with Duchenne muscular dystrophy said he was shocked when he got his latest prescription filled for a medication he has been taking for the past ten years.

“I couldn’t believe it. I need to take this medication to help my muscles be able to work a bit better and it has almost quadrupled in price,” said 21-year-old Arun Crishanth of Aurora.

The medication is Deflazacort, a popular drug used to treat Duchenne muscular dystrophy, however it is not covered under government health plans.

The drug is a steroid taken daily to help keep muscles strong and symptoms of muscular dystrophy in check.

Crishanth said he used to get a four month supply of Deflazacort for $187, but when he got his last prescription filled it jumped to $666.

Crishanth was told by his pharmacy Pharmasave that the price increase was due to it being manufactured by a new drug company.

“This new company decided to turn around and quadruple the price. To me it seems ridiculous that they can increase the price that much," said Crishanth.

CTV News Toronto reached out to Pharmasave and a spokesperson said, “Pharmacy pricing in Canada is linked to the cost to purchase the medication from the manufacturer or distributor. The increased pricing experienced by pharmacies (and thus also to patients) is due to manufacturer and distributor changes.”

Deflazacort, a popular drug used to treat Duchenne muscular dystrophy, is photographed. CTV News Toronto also reached out to Muscular Dystrophy Canada and its CEO Stacey Lintern said in a statement, “Many individuals and their families have been advised by their doctors that Deflazacort is the most suitable option due to its minimal side effects, with some individuals having been on this treatment for 15 years or more. However, the significant increase in price will have detrimental effects on these individuals and their families.”

CTV News Toronto was unable to reach the new manufacturer of Deflazacourt, however Muscular Dystrophy Canada confirmed the price increase was due to a new manufacturer making the drug in Europe which also means increased shipping costs.

While there are cheaper alternatives, they have side effects and many patients with Duchenne muscular dystrophy feel that Deflazacourt is the preferred treatment.

"It’s a drug I’ve been taking for so many years, since I was 10 years old," said Crishanth, who said the drug will now cost him almost $2,000 a year.

"Obviously they should not be able to increase prices like that. It clearly isn't because of inflation, this is just to make some money and I think it's ridiculous that that can happen," said Crishanth.

Muscular Dystrophy Canada said it's important for patients to have equal access to appropriate treatments at a fair cost and that they will continue to try and influence change with regards to the price hike.

If you or your child is experiencing challenges accessing Deflazacort, you can contact Muscular Dystrophy Canada at or call 1-800-567-2873 ext. 1114. Top Stories

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