Jamie Baillie announced today that many Nova Scotians relying on oral, at-home cancer drugs will no longer have to put their family’s financial security at risk in order to get treatment.
“Nova Scotians in cancer treatment shouldn’t have to cope with the additional stress of whether or not they can afford treatment,” said Baillie. “Our plan to fund at-home cancer medications will relieve some of the confusion and worry around treatment, making sure many families don’t have to choose between paying for treatment out of pocket or putting food on the table.”
A Progressive Conservative government will invest $1.8 million per year to ensure the gap for coverage for at-home cancer medications is closed. These funds will be in addition to the $12 million in existing Department of Health and Wellness expenditures. In-hospital treatment is currently covered by the province, but at-home treatments are not.
Coverage of at-home treatment will be available to all Nova Scotians, regardless of insurance status or income level. The coverage will bring Nova Scotia in line with other provinces that already cover at-home treatments, including British Columbia, Saskatchewan and Ontario.
“Cancer organizations have advocated for full provincial coverage of these treatments. The McNeil Liberals overlooked them in their latest budget, insisting that the existing patchwork of family pharmacare funding was good enough,” said Baillie. “This leaves many patients facing financial hardship and uncertainty.”
“The funding of at-home cancer medications means patient across the province can take the treatment they need without financial worry or delay,” said Deb Maskens, kidney cancer patient and co-founder of advocacy group CanCertainty. “Patients need to focus on treatment and recovery, not figuring out how they can afford medication.”
At-home cancer treatments have increased in availability, and a growing number of cancers can now be treated using oral medication. In cases where at-home treatment is available, it prevents or reduces hospital trips for chemotherapy or intravenous treatment. These trips can add stress and complications to patient treatment.