Monday, November 22, 2010

Dying patients ask: Where are the $1 billion in drug savings?

From the Toronto Star:
Deborah Warkus spent the last moments of her life fighting the Ontario health ministry to gain access to a $4,000-a-month drug to treat her invasive breast cancer.

By the time the province agreed, it was too late and the 50-year-old Brampton mother died.

Lucas Maciesza, 26, is lying in a Guelph-area hospital, bleeding to death, because his parents can't afford to pay the $500,000-a-year cost for his medication.

In the last four years, a bold drug reform scheme — which includes bulk purchasing and eliminating professional allowances to pharmacists — has saved the province more than $1 billion.

Those savings are supposed to be used to add new, often pricey drugs to the Ontario Drug Benefit Program formulary.

But patients suffering in the final stages of cancer or with rare diseases say their desperate needs are being ignored. ...more

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