Lymphoma Canada and 12 other cancer patient groups are calling on health researchers and health policy decision-makers to advise the Canadian governments to speed up access to approved cancer drugs.
Many Canadians are surprised to learn that a drug’s approval for sale by Health Canada doesn’t equate to access to these often lifesaving therapies. For cancer patients, time is valuable and access to effective therapies is critical. While advances in screening, detection and treatment have improved outcomes, an estimated 80,800 Canadians are expected to die of cancer in 2017. Health Canada has implemented mechanisms to improve timely access to innovative and potentially curative therapies for those with life-threatening conditions, including cancer. Public funding of these treatments, however, has not kept pace with their approval. Patients are suffering the consequences. Drugs may be available for doctors to prescribe, but unless they are reimbursed by the government, new cancer treatments are inaccessible to many patients.
The signatories have published a policy paper, "Improving Access to Innovative Cancer Therapies in Canada", which provides recommendations to ensure cancer patients receive the most effective therapies available when they need them.