Public Funding of Approved Lung Cancer Treatments Needed Now

The Canadian Cancer Survivor Network and Lung Cancer Canada are calling on government and industry to help accelerate negotiations

OTTAWA, ON (June 7, 2017) – On behalf of patients living with lung cancer and their loved ones, the Canadian Cancer Survivor Network (CCSN) and Lung Cancer Canada (LCC) are calling on government and industry to help accelerate negotiations for public funding of Health Canada approved medications to ensure access for Canadian patients who urgently need them.

There are several new targeted and immunotherapy treatments for lung cancer currently under review by the pan-Canadian Oncology Review (pCODR) or awaiting negotiations with the pan-Canadian Pharmaceutical Alliance (pCPA). These include Tagrisso® (osimertinib), Keytruda®(pembrolizumab), Tafinlar® (dabrafenib) + Mekinist® (trametinib) and Zykadia® (ceritinib). These medicines can slow disease progression, prolong life and give patients more time with their families.

Lung cancer patients are in desperate need for these treatments. Ninety per cent of lung cancer patients have a form called non-small cell lung cancer; of those fewer than 17 per cent will live more than five years with the current treatment options.1

Compared to the US, Canadian lung cancer patients wait considerably longer for access to new medications. In fact, a recent study by Lung Cancer Canada showed that for the eight treatments studied, it took 440 days between FDA and Health Canada approvals.2 This is only the first step in securing access and in many cases patients had to wait an additional two years for provincial listings.2

This year alone, more than 26,600 Canadians will be diagnosed with lung cancer and more than 20,000 of them will die.3 We cannot allow them to die while waiting for access to these treatments.

We are now calling on all parties to enter these negotiations quickly and in good faith. We urge all parties to be respectful of the negative effect delayed negotiations can have on lung cancer patients – especially since this is a cancer with a high unmet need.

The time for rapid negotiation for coverage under the individual provincial health plans is now.

CCSN and LCC are also asking for the community to join their efforts by contacting their local government representative to ensure these treatments are added to the provincial formularies as soon as possible. For more information on how you can help visit:

About Canadian Cancer Survivor Network

The Canadian Cancer Survivor Network (CCSN) helps Canadian patients, families and caregivers become informed, connect and take action, to ensure they are receiving optimal cancer care and follow-up care.

CCSN works to connect patients, survivors and other stakeholder groups with decision makers and the wider community to engage in discussion and to act on evidence-based best practices to alleviate the medical, emotional, financial and social costs of cancer.

About Lung Cancer Canada

Based in Toronto, Lung Cancer Canada (LCC) is Canada’s only national charitable organization that is solely focused on lung cancer. Lung Cancer Canada serves as Canada’s leading resource for lung cancer education, patient support, research, and advocacy. LCC’s mission is four-fold: 1) to increase public awareness of lung cancer, 2) to support and advocate for lung cancer patients and their families, 3) to provide educational resources to patients, family members, healthcare professionals, and the general public, and 4) to raise funds in support of promising research opportunities.


For further information: Jackie Manthorne, Canadian Cancer Survivor Network,, (613) 898-1871; Christina Sit, Lung Cancer Canada,, 416-937-8899, 416-785-3439.


1. Lung Cancer Canada. 2015 Faces of Lung Cancer Report. Available at: Accessed on June 6, 2017.
2. Lung Cancer Canada Research – An analysis of lung cancer approval and access timelines. October 2016.
3. Lung Cancer Canada. Lung Cancer. Available here: Last Accessed: June 6, 2017.