Third report from the Health Ministers’ meeting this week in Vancouver B.C.

VANCOUVER, January 22nd, 2016 – Canadian Cancer Survivor Network President and CEO Jackie Manthorne (right) and CCSN Health Policy Consultant Louise Binder (left) were in Vancouver for events taking place around Canada’s Health Ministers meeting.

Cancer Patients See Promise in Renewed Collaboration between Federal, Provincial and Territorial Health Ministers

The federal, provincial and territorial Health Ministers ended their two-day meeting January 20-21, 2016 in Vancouver with commitments to re-energize Canada’s stagnant health system. In order to do so, they agreed to set up a Working Group on enhancing the affordability, accessibility and appropriate use of prescription drugs. This comes at a time when revolutionary cancer treatments are making their way into the Canadian market. Exciting as this is, there are looming concerns about whether cancer patients will actually be able to access them because of their high cost. If public plans cannot afford them, cancer patients will be forced to mortgage their families’ futures or face death. 

It is crucial that patient groups are part of the discussion about how to achieve equitable, universal access to these drugs no matter where they live or their financial resources. We agree with the federal Minister of Health, the Honorable Dr. Jane Philpott, that access should be available to those who need it.

The Health Ministers committed to a greater shift of resources to improve care in the community. Cancer patients are hopeful that this will include expanding take-home cancer drug coverage to all provinces and territories and people in Canada covered federally.

Minister Philpott also promised an increased emphasis on health promotion and prevention. This proactive approach to health systems is welcome as it will potentially free up more resources throughout the system.

Cancer patients welcome the renewed engagement of the federal government with its provincial and territorial health counterparts. Cooperation and consultation with all stakeholder groups including patient groups are necessary to ensure that these strategies will be implemented effectively and equitably.

Read our January 19th and January 20th updates!
January 19th – Update #1
January 20th – Update #2

What can you do?

  1. Contact your provincial Minister of Health to say you support the three issues, or the one most important to you;
  2. Stay tuned for more follow up from Health Ministers meeting on our twitter account: @survivornetca
  3. Read more about the Health Ministers’ meeting below!

Cancer Patient Groups Hopeful Prescription Drug Talks Will Eliminate Existing Drug Access Disparities Across Canada
Oncology groups laud federal government’s decision to join the pan-Canadian Pharmaceutical Alliance (pCPA)
B.C. health minister says feds to join province's bulk-buy drug alliance
Oncology Patient Groups Support Expanded Drug Access
Health Ministers' Meeting: Cancer Groups Support Improved Access for Cancer Patients Falling Between the Cracks