Rare or orphan diseases are identified by their frequency in the population. Treatment provision for these illness varies from province to province. A previous article by Linda Priest in the Globe and Mail details all of this. You can read it here:
But it’s not just orphan diseases that can be catastrophic for those afflicted. Multiple Sclerosis is relatively common in Canada, affecting both sexes. In Ontario the cost for a 4 week treatment with Avonex, a once a week injectable costs almost 2000$. Every month. For life or until relapse and then the drugs get more expensive. There is a new medication, oral, relieving the patient of the painful intramuscular injections, but it cost almost twice as much.
In Ontario, the Trillium Drug Plan can help, if the medication is listed in the Ontario Drug Benefit Formulary, or can be covered as a limited use. The patient pays a deductible and must reapply every year if they also have some private drug benefit. FYI the drug benefits only cover the drugs the government wants to cover, not all of them. and certainly not the newest.
The country lags behind other first world countries, way behind, because there is no National program. What we do have is a National Disgrace. Oh yes, and new fighter jets.