To: Hon. Paul Merriman; Hon. Everett Hindley; Hon. Scott Moe
ADHD Meds for All | Saskatchewan
Provincial Prescription Coverage for medications used to treat ADHD does not cover life-saving access to Vyvanse, an extended-release stimulant, because it has no generic alternative. Vyvanse is the recommended prescription for adults who have been diagnosed with ADHD, but without coverage it can set you back around $200. The province will only cover this expense if the applicant tries generic prescriptions first, such as Concerta, which no Doctor would recommend otherwise, due to the evidence of Vyvanse having less negative side-effects. This restriction placed an undo burden on late-diagnosed adults, such as Women and BIPOC, that are already likely to be burdened with the effects of not receiving treatment in childhood. Asking these people to waste valuable time by taking an ineffective prescription or to waste money on paying for out-of-pocket for the treatment recommended to them by their doctor is unacceptable. Other provinces, like our neighbour Manitoba, do not place restrictions on Vyvanse coverage and neither should Saskatewan. As ADDitude Magazine describes, “ Vyvanse is a prodrug – an inert substance that is metabolized in the body to become active – which means it’s side effects are considered less harsh… since it takes longer to metabolize… [and] is designed to maintain a steady level of medicine in the body throughout the day.” Experts also are regularly cited as stressing the importance of understanding ADHD is treatable, and that delays in diagnosis are highly correlated with adult women having one or more co-morbid disorders that can complicate the symptoms and treatment if ADHD. This makes access to Vyvanse all the more important, and living in Saskatchewan should not place an additional burden on adults that are in need of prescription coverage in order for them to be able to manage their daily responsibilities and ultimately live happy and fulfilling lives.
Why is this important?
Disparities in the diagnostic criteria for ADHD place undo burdens on an already vulnerable population. Saskatchewan’s refusal to include Vyvanse in its prescription drug program is an outdated policy that sets back the treatment plans of those that studies have already demonstrated as being left behind. Immediate action is required to ensure treatment is not delayed any further.