BARRINGTON, NS – PC Health critic Chris d’Entremont wants the Liberal government to decrease the shocking amount Nova Scotians must pay out of pocket for oral cancer drugs.
Nova Scotians pay among the highest taxes and power rates in Canada. It is inexcusable that they must also pay the highest rates for lifesaving drugs.
“You would be hard pressed to find a family in Nova Scotia that hasn’t been affected by cancer in some way,” says d’Entremont. “These extraordinary costs restricts access to these drugs and forces families to make tough decisions.”
According to CanCertainty Coalition, a group with over 30 Canadian patient groups and charities, Nova Scotians pay roughly $23,000 in deductibles and $17,550 in copayments.
That’s more out of pocket costs for vital oral cancer treatments than any other province in Canada.
“Too many vulnerable Nova Scotians are falling through the cracks and are unable to afford these life-saving treatments,” says d’Entremont. “It’s high time the Liberal government join other provincial governments in supporting those who take oral cancer drugs.”
According to a study by the Cameron Institute in 2014, Nova Scotia’s oral cancer care system discriminates on the basis of “age, income, geography, cancer type and cancer treatment” and is “financially ruining 10,000 lives.”
d’Entremont has raised the issue of oral cancer drugs in the legislature several times over the past few years. On each occasion, Health Minister Leo Glavine has stated it’s an important issue and that he would be looking into it.
Canadian Cancer Statistics estimated that in 2015, 2,700 people died of cancer in Nova Scotia and 6,300 new cases were diagnosed.
“Access to oral cancer treatments means patients can be closer to their homes and families and won’t have to travel long distances to a hospital for treatments,” says d’Entremont. “I think that’s worth supporting. It’s time for the government to make these decisions easier for cancer patients and adequately fund oral cancer drugs.”
d’Entremont wants Minister Glavine to finally tell Nova Scotians when they can expect coverage for oral cancer drugs.