Lack of provisions for patient input, resubmission for previously
refused targeted therapies and transparency cited
MONTREAL, June 1, 2011 /CNW/ - While the Colorectal Cancer Association
of Canada (CCAC) congratulates Quebec Health Minister Yves Bolduc on
the recommendations of the report of the Working Group on the evaluation process of new anti cancer medications (Rapport
du Groupe de travail sur le processus d'évaluation des médicaments
anticancéreux) recently issued, the CCAC notes that the recommendations fall short in
several important ways.
Strikingly absent in both the mandate and the recommendations is the
provision for patients to provide meaningful input. The recommendations
do not provide for input either directly from a patient representative
or input from patient groups, unlike the new pan-Canadian Oncology Drug
Review (pCODR) process adopted by the other nine Canadian provinces.
With pCODR, there is a defined process for ensuring patients can
provide input into the review process.
"The opportunity to address the manner in which oncology drugs and
biologics are evaluated represents an important opportunity for
patients to address their concerns and in particular their right to
equal and timely access to effective medications at least on par with
the rest of Canada. While we are pleased that the new Quebec process
allows for input into the decision by Quebec oncologists, we believe it
is vital that the body that will make what can literally be
life-or-death decisions for cancer patients be able to have input
directly from patients. This input must be incorporated in the
decision-making process," said Barry D. Stein, President of the CCAC.
The second shortfall according to the CCAC is that there is no provision
for those drugs previously rejected under the old process to be
re-evaluated using the new process. "The changes to the process are a
tacit admission that the previous process was flawed," added Mr. Stein.
"As a result, cancer patients deserve to have recently rejected
treatments re-evaluated under the new process and to have them made
available if they meet the new standards under the new process."
The CCAC is also concerned that the new Quebec process is not
transparent. It is essential that this process be transparent at every
step. "These are vital decisions that have a huge impact on peoples'
lives and involve allocating our healthcare resources," added Mr.
Stein. "We all have an important stake in it so the process must be as
transparent as possible."
The CCAC notes that Quebec lags significantly behind other Canadian
provinces in making new treatments for colorectal cancer available to
patients, especially for patients who have advanced disease. Seven
other provinces make available two of the latest treatments, Vectibix
(panitumumab) and Erbitux (cetuximab), while Quebec does not. It is
joined only by Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia in not paying for
colorectal cancer patients to receive these treatments.
About the CCAC
The Colorectal Cancer Association of Canada is the country's leading
non-profit association dedicated to increasing awareness and education
of colorectal cancer, supporting patients, and advocating for primary
prevention, provincial screening programs as well as equal and timely
access to effective treatments to improve patient outcomes. For more
information, visit www.colorectal-cancer.ca.
SOURCE COLORECTAL CANCER ASSOCIATION OF CANADA
For further information:
Kait Wallace, Communications & Outreach
Colorectal Cancer Association of Canada
1-866-50-COLON (26566); 514-875-7745 ext. 235