Lymphoma Canada is advocating on behalf of lymphoma patients across Canada for timely and equitable access to all novel lymphoma therapies.
Every Canadian deserves the opportunity to receive the best quality healthcare, including local access to all Health Canada approved lymphoma therapies with minimal delay. Currently, there is a disparity in available treatments depending on which province or territory a lymphoma patient resides in. These inequities include but are not limited to long delays in accessing approved treatments, financial challenges in affording therapy not funded in a patient’s home province, thereby requiring travel for treatment, and lack of support network when receiving treatment.
Having local access is vital for patients for the following reasons:
- The patient can remain close to their family/friend support group and network
- The patient will have proper follow-up care with their treating physician
- There are limited financial impacts and more supports available locally
- There is a reduced risk of Covid-19 exposure due to travel.
Charlotte is one of the lucky lymphoma patients who was able to receive a novel lymphoma therapy close to home at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, to treat her relapsed DLBCL. Charlotte recognizes the challenges that lymphoma patients throughout Canada can face, as she “couldn’t imagine how challenging life and cancer treatment would have been if she lived far away from the hospital and didn’t have the support of her family”. As a result of this therapy, Charlotte “wakes up every morning happy to experience another day of life” and looks forward to her upcoming trip to Florida to celebrate her 70th birthday, 7 years after her initial diagnosis.
While Charlotte was able to benefit from receiving her lymphoma therapy locally, this is not the case for many Canadians, leaving them to resort to treatments which are potentially less effective or if in the relapsed/refractory setting, perhaps only palliative options.
Much work remains to be done to ensure that all Canadian lymphoma patients can gain access to new and effective therapies in a timelier manner. Otherwise, patients may continue to face a triple jeopardy when it comes to accessing therapies in Canada:
- Lack of local access to new cancer drugs that are approved in other provinces and territories
- May be unable to access a new drug funded within their province if they do not meet the institutional or provincial eligibility requirements
- May experience a lack of full public coverage for therapies and may need to consider additional travel or treatment-related costs
Hence, Lymphoma Canada continues to call on the Canadian federal and provincial governments and regulatory agencies, health and technology assessment agencies, and provincial funding agencies to collaborate to continue our vision to provide solutions to improve the untimely access to cancer therapies in Canada. Please see the letter sent to these public agencies by Lymphoma Canada on March 16, 2023 detailing the challenges lymphoma and other oncology patients are facing.