Roberto Magalang, Edmonton-Mill Woods

Question 1: Cancer Care and Healthcare Services

In a recent poll conducted by CBC Vote Compass, healthcare is the number two issue on the minds of Alberta voters.

If elected:

A) How will your government improve the delivery of cancer care and other healthcare services in Alberta?

B) Will your government continue to provide a publicly funded healthcare system or would it institute a private healthcare system?

C) How will your government restructure healthcare delivery in Alberta?

D) How will your government ensure that cancer patients receive the services they need, including home care, financial assistance during recovery and for long-term side effects of cancer and/or treatment?

Question 2: Drug Approval

A key element of providing timely treatment for cancer patients is ensuring that they have access to the medications they need at the time they need them. Unfortunately, this is not always the case in Alberta.

On average between 2004-2010, Alberta approved for public reimbursement 17.7% of the 306 new drugs approved by Health Canada, compared to the cross-country provincial average for the same period of 23.44% (Access Delayed, Access Denied: Waiting for New Medicines in Canada, Mark Rovere and Brett J. Skinner, Studies in Health Policy, April 2012, The Fraser Institute).

If elected, will your government commit to increasing the number of new cancer and other drugs approved for public reimbursement so that all Albertans have timely access to the drugs they need, and if so, how will this be accomplished?

Answer:

This is an area where more funding is needed. For example, some cancer patients require immune boosters during chemo treatments. These can cost thousands of dollars. Currently only seniors qualify for coverage from the Government. If someone needs a drug or treatment prescribed by their doctor, it should be covered and shouldn’t depend on their age or financial circumstance. We are also concerned about the slowness of the process for approval of new drugs and would work to streamline this to ensure timely access to needed treatments. This may require higher levels of funding, however, in a province as wealthy as Alberta, meeting these requirements can be done.