In the past, most cancer medications were administered by intravenous (IV) in the hospital and covered by the government. Today, many cancer medications are now taken at home. In fact, it is estimated that more than 50% of new cancer drugs are formulated for in-home administration. There are several advantages to this, including less travel for patients and ease of administration; however, patients often encounter obstacles in accessing these medications.
In Ontario, take-home cancer drugs are not publicly-funded through the same programs as medications delivered in hospital. Coverage comes from a mix of private insurance (which often has co-payments or limits), out-of-pocket costs, or provincial programs for certain groups.
As many as 6 programs may be required by a single cancer patient to cover the cost of their treatment. This process of obtaining authorization and reinbursement of approved cancer medications can be time-consuming, exhausting and overwhelming. Unfortunately, it can also delay or prevent patients from accessing cancer medications. Also concerning is that 1 in 6 Ontario cancer patients report that their out-of-pocket expenses are significant or unmanageable.
The Canadian Cancer Society believes that all Canadians should have access to cancer drug treatments without financial hardship regardless of where they live. Coping with a cancer diagnosis and undergoing treatment is difficult enough; patients and their families should not have to deal with the additional stress of having to determine how they will fund their drugs.
Learn more and tell your MPP that we need action to fund take-home cancer drugs!