N.S. cancer care advocates push for oral medication funding
Cancer care advocates in Nova Scotia are meeting with the provincial government to find ways to lower the price of out-of-pocket drug costs.
A group dubbed the Cancertainty Coalition says some Nova Scotia cancer patients pay more than $23,000 a year.
Breast cancer patient Maria Concha says she knows that reality all too well.
“It put more pressure on me as a cancer patient, you have enough pressure,” Concha said.
Concha says her private health insurance only covered most of the cost. Cancertainty met with the provincial Health Minister Leo Glavine Thursday to try and change that.
The group says there’s no issue when the drug is administered intravenously, but the problem is that more and more cancer medications are oral.
Deb Maskens of the Cancertainty Coalition says a pill is often distributed in British Columbia free of charge, which is something not seen in the Atlantic Canada.
“What happens in Nova Scotia, the oncologist says, ‘You have the same cancer, the drug is a pill. I'm going to send you home with some paperwork,’” Maskens said.
The group says Glavine made the same commitment two years ago, but they haven't seen any action. They believe he has a better understanding now and are hopeful this time will be different.
“We first and foremost want to eliminate that bad second question that oncologists are having to ask, 'How are you going to pay for this?'” Glavine said.
Cancertainty says it is committed to following up with the Nova Scotia government.
“I was lucky. Now, I do not have health insurance,” said Concha.
She hopes the government will change the system because she worries about what will happen if her cancer comes back.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Kayla Hounsell.