On July 2, 2013, a press conference was held in Montreal to highlight the inequality of funding for patients in Quebec for the bendamustine and rituximab (BR) treatment of indolent non-Hodgkin lymphoma (iNHL).
Quebeckers deserve access to the best care too!
On July 2, 2013, a press conference was held in Montreal to highlight the inequality of funding for patients in Quebec for the bendamustine and rituximab (BR) treatment of indolent non-Hodgkin lymphoma (iNHL). In response to the decision by INESSS not to fund BR in Quebec, Lymphoma Canada has launched the Mêmes Chances campaign. While this treatment is newly approved in Canada it has been recognized as the standard of care in Europe and the United States for many years. In every province with the exception of Quebec, funding for this drug has been approved. INESSS, the drug review body in Quebec, has denied funding this treatment. The lymphoma community in Quebec and across other communities were encouraged share their stories and help advocate for BR so lymphoma patients living in Quebec can gain immediate access to this treatment that extends survival without disease progression.
Thanks to the support of Dr Pierre Laneuville and 30 of his hematology-oncology colleagues, Lymphoma Canada Scientific Advisory Board and the creation of a community Facebook Page for this crisis, Lymphoma Canada was able to increase awareness of this issue through social media, print, television, and online media outlets.
In spite of all the advocacy efforts to date, the Quebec Ministry of Health has so far refused to reverse the decision and has not responded to Lymphoma Canada’s requests for a meeting. However, on October 31, Executive Director Sue Robson and Tracey-Ann Curtis, Quebec Regional Manager, were invited to meet with the Opposition Health Critic in Quebec City and have also been requested to meet INESSS on December 18.
Lymphoma Canada believes that Quebeckers deserve the same chances as other Canadians in the battle against cancer. As they continue to push for funding of this drug in Quebec, Lymphoma Canada has started communicating with lymphoma doctors across the province to encourage them to: educate their patients about this issue and to join with the organization to raise their voices to the Ministry of Health, to advocate for their access to better treatment options in Quebec because only together can we make a difference.