Dozens rally outside premier’s office for sick Sooke boy

Landen Lanthier, 6, needs $19,000 a month to treat rare form of arthritis

Dozen of parents and children rallied outside Premier John Horgan’s Langford office on Jan. 15 in support of Landen Alexa, 6, who is seeking a drug that could change his life.

Last spring, Landen, a Sooke resident, was diagnosed with systemic juvenile idiopathic arthritis, more commonly known as SJIA, a disease that causes his body to attack itself, leaving him with crippling muscle and joint pain and with virtually no immune system.

The disease is so severe, even a common head cold can be fatal.

The medicine Landen is on now is no longer effective, and the only option for treatment is a drug called Ilarus, which costs $19,000 a month. It’s not covered by B.C. Pharmacare.

RELATED: Six-year-old Sooke boy needs $19,000 a month to treat rare form of arthritis

RELATED: Sooke boy denied $19,000 per month drug for third time

Those at the rally chanted “Love for Landen” and “Don’t abandon Landen.”

“We came here to support Jillian and Landen. We feel that Pharmacare isn’t being fair in their decision in helping Landen with the disease he has,” said Sunni Anthony, who brought her three-year-old son Finlay to the rally.

“It’s an expensive medication that nobody can afford. Every child has a right to a normal life.”

The show of support brought tears to the eyes of Landen’s mother, Jillian Lanthier.

“I hope this brings attention to Landen’s case and I hope we can sit down with [Health Minister] Adrian Dix or John Horgan and discuss Landen’s case,” she said.

Horgan responded to the issue at his weekly press conference in Victoria.

“As a parent, I would do, as I know you all would, anything for my child. My office has been advocating as a member of the legislature for the family, in terms of getting the appropriate meetings and conversations started, and we will continue to do that.”

Horgan said he agrees with Dix that politicians shouldn’t be approving drugs for distribution in B.C, and believes the pharmaceutical sector has some responsibility in the issue as well.

“I would like to think that we can work as a government through Pharmacare and through the federal government as well, to try and accelerate approvals not just in B.C. but in Canada,” Horgan said.

He added that he would also like to work with the providers of the “pharmaceutical miracle” drugs, to try and get them in to people’s hands at a more reasonable cost.

“I think all British Columbians would agree it’s outrageous that a drug that will improve the quality of life of a youngster in extreme pain should cost twenty-grand. That strikes me as outrageous,” Horgan said.

Just Posted

BC Nurses Union calls for decriminalization of opioids

BCNU president wants the federal government to do more to reduce preventable deaths

Pedestrian struck on Quadra Street

A pedestrian was struck by a vehicle on Quadra Street at Hulford… Continue reading

Victoria airport workers rally on Tuesday

Food service workers call for improved working conditions

Police respond after dog left in vehicle at the movies

West Shore RCMP determined the animal was not in distress

Saanich grants public hearing to senior housing proposal

Five-storey rental apartment would add 39 units near Cuthbert Holmes Park

VIDEO: Trudeau shuffles familiar faces, adds new ones to expanded cabinet

Justin Trudeau shuffles his front bench Wednesday to install the roster of ministers that will be entrusted with leading the Liberal team into next year’s election.

Wildfires erupt in B.C. Okanagan forcing evacuation orders and a highway closure

Check out a list of up-to-date information on blazes happening within the Kamloops Wildfire Centre.

‘Amazing Race Canada’ competitors face B.C. challenge

They drove Corvettes, mastered falconry basics, and ate blueberry pie in the Cowichan Valley

Grizzly bear jumps in river, chases B.C. kayaker

The bear got a bit too close for comfort along the Elaho River near Squamish

Island man convicted of 1999 sex assault at Fraser Valley music festival

James Allen Redden, formerly of Nanaimo, was found guilty of three charges

Parks Canada looks to shine light on cloudy future for historic sites

A plan is in place to produce 10-year plans designed to turn around sagging attendance figures

B.C. poet shines a bright light on struggle with homelessness

Book launch for John La Greca’s Homeless Memorial is at Vernon’s Gallery Vertigo July 21.

Former Vike returns to lead women’s rowing program

Williams rowed for UVic, Oxford and Canada

Ontario police say attack on Muslim man was motivated by hate

Two men, aged 27 and 19, have been charged with assault in the incident

Most Read