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

More than 115 people attend UVic blood drive

Canadian Blood Services says UVic is a target location to create lifetime donors

Potential for Greater Victoria sewage project to go over budget

“Our confidence [in meeting budget] is not high”

Home care complaints up 45% on Vancouver Island

Number of home care hours delivered down 6%, complaints up 45 %

City of Victoria endorses potential class action lawsuit against fossil fuel giants

Data will be gathered to quantify how much environmental damage the city has faced

Residents push back on downtown Victoria tree removal

The birch tree at the Wharf-Government intersection will be removed to make way for bike lanes

UPDATE: B.C. legislature managers accused of excessive travel, personal expense claims

Clerk Craig James, security chief Gary Lenz call allegations ‘completely false’

China demands US drop Huawei extradition request with Canada

China detained two Canadians on Dec. 10 in an apparent attempt to pressure Canada to release Meng

9 brains, 3 hearts: Some wild facts about octopuses

Things to know about the giant Pacific octopus, which is naturally found in the waters of the U.S. West coast, the Aleutian Islands and Japan

Hollywood announces 2019 Oscar nominations

Netflix has scored its first best picture nomination, something the streaming giant has dearly sought

Collapsed floor traps worker at decommissioned North Island pulp mill

Man frees self, escapes injury, investigation underway at Elk Falls facility in Campbell River

B.C. man fined $10,000 after leaving moose to suffer before death

Surrey man was convicted last week on three Wildlife Act charges

Anti-pipeline group wants NEB to consider impact of emissions, climate change

Stand.earth filed NEB motion asking to apply same standard to the project as it did with Energy East pipeline

B.C. man charged in 2014 snake venom death of toddler

Henry Thomas was taking care of the North Vancouver girl the day before she died

B.C.’s largest public-sector union wants inquiry into money laundering, drugs

Union officials say Premier John Horgan and Attorney General David Eby have not ruled out the possibility of a public inquiry

Most Read