But will it really increase access to treatments?
A coalition of national oncology patient groups is pleased that the Federal government will join its provincial and territorial counterparts to negotiate lower drug prices through the pCPA. Patient groups were encouraged by Health Minister Philpott’s announcement that doing so will achieve greater savings for publicly funded drug programs, increased access to drug treatment options and improved consistency of pricing across Canada.
We are concerned, however, because to date these price negotiations have not in fact led to improved access to drugs for cancer patients, with some provinces paying for cancer drugs while others only pay for drugs administered in hospitals. The introduction of new life saving therapies will increase this inequity. No cancer patient in Canada should face bankruptcy or death because they cannot afford their cancer medications. If the Federal Government’s inclusion in pricing negotiations actually changes this situation, cancer groups welcome this improvement. Cancer patients have been forced to travel and move from one province to another to obtain access to the cancer medications they need.
To date pricing negotiations have not automatically led to public coverage in every province and territory. We call on all jurisdictions to add these drugs to their public plans immediately following completed negotiations. Only then will there in fact be equitable access for all Canadians.
For further information, please contact CCSN President & CEO Jackie Manthorne at 613.710.3636 or CCSN Health Policy Consultant Louise Binder at 416.457.3179.