Oncology patient groups support expanded drug access for those forgotten in the health care system because of where they live or lack of income.
We believe that a drug access program, often referred to as pharmacare, must fill the gap for Canadians who do not have adequate financial resources to access existing public systems or who are not presently included for coverage. Also there is unequal coverage across the country and even within provinces depending on where you live and this must change. If the national pharmacare program that both BC Premier Christy Clark and Ontario Health Minister Dr. Eric Hoskins support will fill those gaps then oncology groups are in agreement.
Any pharmacare program that creates a limited or minimum list will not ensure that Canadians are getting access to the drugs they need when they need them. This is particularly worrisome for oncology patients at a time when there are significant breakthroughs in cancer treatments that are changing some cancers from a deadly disease to a chronic condition. These drugs will be expensive but Canadians should not be denied access because of their cost.
We do agree with Dr. Hoskins that a pan-Canadian program to coordinate joint negotiations of pharmaceutical prices to reduce costs must be a central part of this program. A pan-Canadian program that includes the federal government to negotiate the lowest price possible for these life saving therapies is an important principle of such a pharmacare program.
Without these real shifts in how drugs are being made available to people in Canada we are just shifting the deck chairs on the Titanic.
We urge the Ministers of Health to discuss this at their meetings over the next few days.
For further information please contact
Jackie Manthorne, President
Canadian Cancer Survivor Network (CCSN)
Health Policy Consultant, CCSN
Oncology Groups Represented
Canadian cancer Survivor Network
Save Your Skin Foundation
Life Saving Therapies Network
GIST Sarcoma Life Raft Group Canada
The CML Network
Hair Donation Ottawa
A Bum Wrap