Monday, July 07, 2008

Ontario to cover cost of expensive cancer treatment

From the Toronto Sun:
Ontario will spend an additional $50 million to cover three of the most expensive cancer drugs over the next three years, Health Minister David Caplan announced Wednesday.

The province is earmarking $30 million to fund Avastin for colorectal cancer and $20 million to pay for both Sprycel, used to treat leukemia, and Alimta, for lung cancer, Caplan said.

But it’s not clear whether everyone who requests the drugs will be able to get the medication.

About 3,000 patients are looking for Avastin, which costs $40,000 for one treatment, according to Cancer Care Ontario. That could add as much as $120 million to the province’s drug budget.

Many cancer patients say they’ve been forced to pay tens of thousands of dollars for drugs that were recommended by their doctors but not covered under the provincial health insurance plan. Some sought donations and organized fundraisers to help defray the huge cost of the potentially life-saving treatment. ..more

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