June 14, 2012 – Survey highlights Ontarian’s perceptions on access to medications in Canada

Only one-fifth believe that if they were diagnosed with cancer today, all their medications would be covered by their province’s healthcare system or medical insurance1

TORONTO, June 14, 2012 /CNW/ – Ontarians know what they want from their healthcare system when it comes to medication. According to the results of a recent survey, the vast majority of Ontarians (76 per cent) strongly feel that if they were diagnosed with cancer, they should have access to the most appropriate medications, regardless of what their medical benefits cover.2

The reality is that access to new and effective medications is not always offered to patients who need it in every province, despite therapeutic benefits. Jim Walsh, a resident of Brantford, Ontario, living with metastatic prostate cancer, illustrates the current reality faced by men living with this condition in Ontario. After decades of fundraising for treatments for children’s cancers, Jim finds that he is now advocating for his own cancer treatment.

“I was diagnosed with prostate cancer about 10 years ago, and on Valentine’s Day this year, we found out that the cancer spread to my bones. I was just taken off a chemotherapy treatment because it’s no longer helping me, and I’m running out of time. Knowing that there are treatments available that could help me, but I can’t access, is frustrating to me and my family and friends.”

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer to affect Canadian men and approximately 26,500 men will be diagnosed this year.3 Once the tumour spreads beyond the prostate, or metastasizes, there are few treatment options available.

“As an oncologist responsible for the care of men with metastatic prostate cancer, being able to offer my patients the best treatment options available based on demonstrated safety and efficacy is paramount to my practice,” says Dr. Sebastien Hotte, a medical oncologist based in Hamilton. “This community has received exciting news lately with the approval of new treatments that not only extend life, but also offer a better quality of life. The sooner late-stage cancer treatments are funded for patients, the better.”

According to Ontarians, when governments are making decisions about what treatments to fund for late stage cancer, the quality of life of a patient, overall survival rate and the outcome of therapy should weigh heavier on their decision than the cost of the treatment. The majority of Ontarians (86 per cent) feel the government should readjust its priorities to ensure that more funds are in place to ensure people have access to cancer medications when needed.4

“All Canadian cancer patients, regardless of where they live, are entitled to timely access to medication that can improve their quality of life and slow down disease progression,” says Jackie Manthorne, President and CEO, Canadian Cancer Survivor Network. “It’s especially important that patients with advanced cancer receive necessary treatments that may give them more time to spend with their family and friends, enjoying life.”

The survey found that 78 per cent of Ontarians believe that you cannot put a price on time when it comes to extending their or a loved ones’ life. Ontarian respondents indicated spending more time with family and friends (81 per cent), ability to do everyday activities like shopping or doing things around the house (41 per cent), and greater independence (40 per cent), when describing the value in delaying the progression of cancer for a loved one.5

About the Access to Medications Survey

The survey was conducted from November 29 to December 5, 2011, by Leger Marketing on behalf of Janssen Inc., through an online questionnaire among a sample of 1,831 Canadians 18 years of age or older, including 251 Canadians affected by prostate cancer (206 patients and 45 caregivers). A probability sample of the same size would yield a margin of error of +/- 2.3%, 19 times out of 20.

About Janssen Inc.

At Janssen, we are dedicated to addressing and solving some of the most important unmet medical needs of our time in oncology, immunology, neuroscience, infectious diseases and vaccines, metabolic and chronic diseases and women’s health. Driven by our commitment to patients, we bring innovative products, services and solutions to people throughout the world. Janssen Inc. is a member of the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson. Please visit www.janssen.ca for more information.


1 The Access to Medications survey was conducted from November 29 to December 5, 2011 by Leger Marketing through an online survey among a sample of 1,831 Canadians 18 years of age or older.
2 Ibid.
3 Prostate Cancer Facts. Prostate Cancer Canada.  Accessed June 7, 2012.
4 The Access to Medications survey was conducted from November 29 to December 5, 2011 by Leger Marketing through an online survey among a sample of 1,831 Canadians 18 years of age or older.
5 Ibid.