Wednesday, April 09, 2008

High cost of living

From the Welland (Ont.) Tribune:
Kevin Bigford feels the province’s health system has let him down.

Its decision to not fund a drug that could extend his life caught the former Port Colborne resident completely by surprise when his oncologist laid out the cold facts about the cancer-fighting drug Avastin.

Because Avastin is still before the province’s committee to evaluate drugs, the Ministry of Health won’t fund it – even though four other provinces will.

“While they won’t come right out and say so, it’s about money,” Bigford said in a recent telephone interview from his home in Kitchener.

Avastin has a proven track record in extending the lives of patients with colorectal cancer, but the treatment comes with a crippling financial cost. One treatment of Avastin costs Bigford just under $3,000. He needs two treatments per month – about 20 in total.

In 2007, the Canadian Cancer Society estimated that 20,800 Canadians would be diagnosed with colorectal cancer and 8,700 people would die from the disease. One in 14 men is expected to develop colorectal cancer in their lifetime. It is currently the second leading cause of death. ...more

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