Quebec 2012 Election Campaign

This section provides you with the “Health” excerpts taken from the platforms of the Coalition Avenir Quebec, Parti Québécois and the Liberal Party of Quebec. In certain cases, the platforms may describe the party’s stance on cancer. We sent each party a letter, which you can find below, that asked questions concerning cancer and health services. We have also posted any responses from individual candidates.

Letter CCSN sent to political parties and candidates:

Dear Candidate:

Every year, over 47,600 Quebecers are diagnosed with cancer and approximately 20,000 die of it. Clearly, this life-threatening illness affects families, friends, co-workers and entire communities.

The Canadian Cancer Survivor Network (CCSN) is a national network of patients, families, survivors, friends, community partners and sponsors. Its mission is to work together by taking action to promote the very best standard of care, support, follow up and quality of life for patients and survivors. It aims to educate the public and policy makers about cancer and encourage research on ways to alleviate barriers to optimal cancer care in Canada.

The government of Quebec has an important role to play in making sure that everyone diagnosed with cancer has timely access to the medications they need; is not subjected to dangerously long wait times for diagnosis and treatment; and receives adequate financial support during diagnosis and treatment.

We invite you to respond to the following questions about cancer care and healthcare in Quebec. Your responses will be circulated to cancer patients and survivors in Quebec and included on our website at . Links to your responses will also be posted on Facebook and Twitter.

Cancer Care and Healthcare Services

A Leger Marketing poll published in the August 1, 2012 issue of the Journal de Montréal identified better access to the healthcare system as one of the three issues of most concern to Quebecers.

If elected, how will your government:

a) Improve the delivery of healthcare services in Quebec?

b) Restructure cancer care delivery in Quebec?

c) Improve services for lymphedema following cancer treatment?

Drug Approval

Access to New Oncology Drugs in Canada Compared with the United States and Europe, authored by Dr. Nigel Rawson, compares the amount of time that it took to approve each of the 33 new cancer medications that received market approval in Canada, the United States, and the European Community between 2003 and 2011.

The report concluded that:

30 drugs were approved in the United States, 26 in the European Community, and just 24 in Canada.
The median review times (the time within which 50% of the drugs were approved) were 182 days in the United States, 410 days in Europe, and 356 days in Canada.
Twenty-five (83%) of the 30 drugs approved in the United States received an expedited review (median and average approval times of 182 and 217 days, respectively) compared with only eight (33%) of the 24 drugs approved in Canada that received a priority review (median and average approval times of 326 and 422 days, respectively).
By the end of March 2012, only three of the 24 drugs approved in Canada since 2003 were covered to some degree by government insurance in all 10 provinces, while seven others had government-subsidized access in some provinces. Most importantly, almost 60 per cent were not covered under public drug plans in any province.
If elected, will your government commit to increasing the number of new cancer and other drugs approved for public reimbursement so that all Quebecers have timely access to the drugs they need, and if so, how will this be accomplished?