A West Kelowna man diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease is standing up for himself and others as two critical pharmaceuticals are being discontinued in Canada.
Movapo and Kynmobi are being taken off the shelves by their distribution companies, Palladin and Sunovion, with Movapo having already ceased supply and Kynmobi following suit by the end of September. This leaves thousands without medication.
According to Parkinson Society British Columbia, the pharmaceutical companies involved have indicated that limited demand for these medications eventually led to their discontinuation.
“This decision presents considerable challenges for dependent patients, who now face a scarcity of alternative options,” said Parkinson Society British Columbia.
David Gebhart, who was diagnosed with Parkinson’s at the age of 43, has relied on this medication for some time, and his supply is dwindling with only a couple months to go before he completely runs out.
“Between your doses, there might be a time period where there’s no medication working in your body, so what will happen is you won’t be able to do normal activities like grabbing a coffee, answering an email or simply walking across the room.”
He tells Castanet his neurologist has no alternatives for him to turn to, leaving him feeling hopeless and abandoned by the parent companies of Movapo and Kynmobi.
“It’s gone for good. This indirectly affects everyone living with Parkinson’s. The average age of a person being diagnosed with Parkinson’s is decreasing all the time. Now they have a young onset Parkinson’s disease designation for people under their 50’s,” said Gebhart.
“Parkinson’s is the fastest growing neurological problem in the world, but there’s a new situation developing where there’s going to be a whole group of people — including me — who are going to have Parkinson’s much longer.”
Gebhart has started a petition for the Canadian Government to find a solution to the problem.
The petition to the House of Commons is sponsored by local MP Dan Albas. It calls on the government to work with the drug companies to prevent the medication from being discontinued and to "recognize the urgent need for healthcare professionals specializing in Parkinson's disease."
According to Parkinson Society British Columbia, while importing Movapo from the USA or Europe is under consideration, the feasibility of such an approach is yet to be confirmed. Regrettably, Kynmobi, produced by a Canadian company, will not be available from other sources.
Movapo and Kynmobi, both forms of Apomorphine, a potent dopamine agonist, are unique in their administration. Movapo is injected, while Kynmobi is taken as sublingual strips.
While not widely prescribed, they function as "rescue" medications for a small but critical number of patients, said the Parkinson Society British Columbia.