The province picking up the bill for a myriad of new drugs is being called a “positive step” for patients with MS, Parkinson’s and chronic pain.

B.C.’s Ministry of Health announced Thursday a new wave of drugs would be added to its PharmaCare program.

"This reduces the financial burden placed on people with Parkinson’s and their families," B.C. Parkinson's Society CEO Jean Blake told CTV News. "Overall, the inclusion of these drugs is a positive step towards better care." 

As advocates for those living with Parkinson's hail this as a quality of life-improving move, the drug announcement goes far beyond just one illness.

The province has added costly treatment options for patients living with multiple sclerosis, severe asthma and chronic pain.

"The updates to the program provide those who have been diagnosed with more diverse and effective treatment options," added Blake. "Allowing them to live well and improve quality of life."

PharmaCare is a provincial program designed to offer full coverage for drugs, medical supplies and devices which may be financially out of reach for B.C. patients. 

Roughly 5,000 patients are expected to use the expanded program during its three-year lifespan, according to the ministry of health. Picking up the cheque for the medications and supplies is predicted to run the province $11.8-million dollars over the three years.

The heart-wrenching story of an elderly Central Saanich woman and public pressure forced a major addition to B.C.'s PharmaCare program in 2017.

Paddi Wood, who suffered from Parkinson's since 2008, argued that the Health Canada approved drug DUODOPA should be covered by the B.C. government. 

The Parkinson's treatment, costing roughly $60,000 a year, was covered by other provinces but not in B.C. In 2017, then-Health Minister Terry Lake announced the treatment would fall under the PharmaCare umbrella in exceptional cases.

"I can’t believe it’s happened actually, I feel like running around the garden," Wood said at the time.

It's estimated 13,000 British Columbians suffer from Parkinson's disease. 

For a full list of newly covered drugs and more information on PharmaCare, go to the Ministry of Health's website