August 8, 2012 – Canadian Cancer Survivor Network launches 2012 Quebec election campaign

(Ottawa, August 8, 2012) The Canadian Cancer Survivor Network launched its 2012 Quebec election campaign today to express its concern about the state of healthcare and cancer care in that province.

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 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.

The Canadian Cancer Survivor Network has therefore asked the main political parties to respond to the following questions. Responses will be posted on CCSN’s website as well as referenced on Twitter, Facebook and on Jackie Manthorne’s cancer blog.

The questions are:

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?


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.