New hope in advanced prostate cancer deterred by provincial decision

The Institut national d’excellence en santé et en services sociaux refuses to list therapy, while other provinces fund the novel treatment for men with metastatic hormone-refractory prostate cancer.

OTTAWA, March 27, 2013 /CNW Telbec/ – Following the recent update to the list of medications covered by the basic prescription drug insurance plan in Quebec, the Canadian Cancer Survivor Network is very disappointed that INESSS did not recommend cabazitaxel, the first and only chemotherapy to have shown a significant survival benefit for men with metastatic hormone-refractory prostate cancer that are not responding to other treatments.

This decision from INESSS not to list cabazitaxel on their provincial formulary, hence not making it eligible for public reimbursement, limits access for patients with advanced prostate cancer in Quebec.

“For those men living with prostate cancer in Quebec, this means that they cannot access the product through the basic provincial coverage,” said Jackie Manthorne, President of the Canadian Cancer Survivor Network. “The inequalities and limits in access to this treatment option are unacceptable. Access and availability to new options can provide patients with a better chance of survival when dealing with such a difficult illness”.

This evaluation by INESSS once again highlights the current gaps in the system and the reality of patients looking to access the right drug, at the right time! “The province is moving away from this target” added Ms. Manthorne. “This is a major setback for men dealing with the disease and their families.”

“Cabazitaxel fills a critical treatment gap; it is an important therapy addition for patients living with advanced prostate cancer and helps healthcare professionals in their efforts to treat those patients. Hopefully the eventual availability of a drug like cabazitaxel will signal the start of a new, more effective approach to help these patients access the treatment,” highlighted Dr. Saad, Chief of Urology and  Head of Urologic Oncology, CHUM.

The provinces of Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario have already made JEVTANA® (cabazitaxel) available for reimbursement on their public formulary. Reimbursement for prescription drugs is not mandated by the CanadaHealth Act or any other federal legislation. Provincial governments independently establish reimbursement plans.

“For the benefit of prostate cancer patients in Quebec and for the clinical and therapeutic value this drug can bring, we strongly hope INESSS will reconsider this decision,” concluded Dr. Saad.

About Prostate Cancer 
In Canada, one man in seven men will develop prostate cancer and one in 28 will die of it1. It is the most frequently diagnosed cancer in men and its incidence has increased by 30 percent since 1988. While it is most commonly diagnosed after age 70, prostate cancer can also occur in men in their forties and fifties.2

For many patients with prostate cancer, their disease continues to progress despite prior treatment – including surgical and/or hormonal castration followed by chemotherapy. Metastatic prostate cancer indicates that the cancer has spread to the lymph nodes or other parts of the body, particularly the bones. Castration resistant/hormone-refractory prostate cancer means that the cancer has continued to grow despite the suppression of male hormones that fuel the growth of prostate cancer cells. An estimated 10-20% of patients with prostate cancer are diagnosed when the cancer has already metastasized.
About the Canadian Cancer Survivor Network (CCSN)
The Canadian Cancer Survivor Network was created by a group of Canadians concerned about cancer. CCSN’s mission is to empower collaborative action by cancer patients, families and communities to identify and work to remove barriers to optimal patient care, and to ensure that cancer survivors have access to education and action opportunities to have their voices heard in planning and implementing an optimal health care system. CCSN is committed to educate the public and policy makers about the financial, emotional and health costs of cancer and offer considered, positive ideas and recommendations to alleviate their effects. To learn more, visit


2 Prostate Cancer: Understand the Disease and its Treatment: Saad F,  McCormack M; Annika Parance Publishing; 2012, p. 25

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