Rethink Breast Cancer & CanCertainity Coaliition Applaud the Ontario Green Party's Commitment to Imp

RETHINK BREAST CANCER & CANCERTAINTY COALITION APPLAUD THE ONTARIO
GREEN PARTY’S COMMITMENT TO IMPROVE ACCESS TO CANCER TREATMENTS
 
– The Ontario Green Party’s platform indicates it will publicly fund take-home cancer medications –
 
TORONTO, ONTARIO, May 13, 2022 – Rethink Breast Cancer and the CanCertainty Coalition, the united
voice of 30+ Canadian cancer organisations, applaud the commitment in Ontario Green Party’s platform
announced on Thursday that indicated they would publicly fund take-home cancer drugs (THCD) as an
interim measure, as they partner with the federal government to implement a universal pharmacare
program.
 
“This announcement underscores the importance of closing the gap on funding for take-home cancer
drugs – an issue that affects approximately 10,000 cancer patients in Ontario every year – regardless of
political stripes,” said Robert Bick, co-chair of the CanCertainty Coalition. “We’re hopeful the commitment to accessing cancer treatments that transcend party lines will ensure that in the very near
future all cancer patients who need them will not only benefit from these treatments clinically, but will
do so without the out-of-pocket costs and stressful delays.”
 
Currently in Ontario, cancer drugs administered in hospitals by IV are fully funded and patients access
their treatment without delay. However, when patients younger than 65 need a prescribed cancer drug
that is taken at home by pill or injection, they face administrative challenges, stressful delays and
expensive out-of-pocket costs. The majority of cancer patients today will require a take-home cancer
drug.
 
Ontario’s system for take-home cancer drugs is a decade behind. The Western Provinces, Northern
Territories and Quebec have all developed mechanisms to offer equal, faster, and more affordable
access to THCDs alongside IV drugs. But by fixing this outdated model, Ontario will find cost-efficiencies
and eliminate waste while making the process to order, approve and streamline THCD delivery.
 
“Throughout the pandemic, cancer screening, diagnoses and treatments have been delayed. And many
more late-stage diagnoses are expected – cancer patients cannot afford any additional holdups due to
bureaucracy or administration,” said MJ DeCoteau, executive director and founder of Rethink Breast
Cancer. “We hope all parties will work together to quickly resolve the inequities patients face – the
dollars, the delays and the distress – when their lives depend on accessing their take-home cancer
drugs.”
 
A recent Canadian-led study in the British Medical Journal found a four-week delay in cancer treatment
increases the risk of death by about 10 per cent.
 
The Evolution of Cancer Treatment
Traditionally all cancer treatments were administered to patients by an IV in the hospital. Over the past
15 years, an increasing number of effective cancer treatments can be taken at home by pill or injection.
Take-home cancer medications are now a fundamental part of today’s cancer treatments and should be
recognized equally within our provincial health care systems.
 
Patients requiring an intravenous treatment can start that medication as soon as needed and do not
face any financial or administrative burdens provided the drug is included on the provincial formulary.
However, when take-home cancer medications are prescribed, patients in Ontario who are younger
than 65 must first exhaust their private pay options (if they have them). This can take weeks to a month
for approval (between 17 – 30 per cent have no insurances and 33 – 40 per cent are underinsurediii).
Then, they must apply to the Ontario Trillium Drug Program – encountering more risky delays, taking on
average another month for approval.iv Finally the patient must pay the government an average
$4,000/year deductible while working on a reduced income during treatment.
 
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For more information or to set up an interview, please contact:
Jilda.Lazer@ReverbConsulting.ca
647.290.7573

To download the full press release click here.