Monday, July 03, 2006

Pinning hopes on `wonder drug'

Here's another story regarding a really expensive new drug which treats a relatively uncommon but serious ailment. These stories are in the papers more and more these days. The issue here isn't so much about government approval as opposed to coverage of the drug. It's hard to draw the line of what is covered and what isn't, and sometimes it isn't fair. But isn't that essentially what the Canadian health care system is about? We have one dominant payer in the government which holds all the cards in these cases. The government decides what type of surgery, diagnostic test, or drug is covered and we essentially have to live with it. Or else we need to change the system.

From the Toronto Star:
...The Toronto resident is pinning all her hopes on a wonder drug called Avastin, which was approved by Health Canada in September 2005 for patients with metastatic colon cancer. The problem is the Ontario Drug Benefit program, which pays for drugs for seniors, those on disability and the poor, doesn't cover the steep cost of the medication, which is close to $40,000 for a round of treatment. For cancer patients who want to get the drug when they're in hospital, Ontario doesn't provide or cover it.

This month she began yet another round of chemotherapy as well as Avastin, which is delivered intravenously at a private health clinic in Toronto. Family and friends are raising money to pay the hefty bill. ...more

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

If this person was getting a hip replacement, they would be reviled as a queue jumper for using the private system. Meanwhile, she is accessing the private system and paying for this special treatment. What about the poor patient that can't afford it and has no means of fundraising?