Cancer Control Advocates Hold all Parties to Account

    C2CC calls for a national catastrophic drug plan

    OTTAWA, Sept. 16 /CNW/ - The Campaign to Control Cancer (C2CC) calls on
all federal parties to follow through on their commitment to deliver a
catastrophic drug coverage plan to ensure all Canadians can afford life saving
medication regardless of where they live and to vigorously support the
advancement of cancer control by fully implementing the Canadian Strategy for
Cancer Control. The coalition of more than 70 leading Canadian cancer
organizations released their "Spinning the Wheel - The High-stakes Game of
Catastrophic Drug Coverage for Canadians" report and are seeking political
action now to safeguard Canadians at risk.
    "A national catastrophic drug plan is critically needed in Canada. Over
three million Canadians are unprotected against high drug costs," said Harley
Ast, president of the C2CC. "The federal and provincial governments committed
to implement a national catastrophic drug program in 2003. We are calling on
all parties to commit to implement a catastrophic drug coverage plan in the
first year of their new mandate before Canadians go to the polls next month."
    One in nine Canadians is not protected against high drug costs in this
country and this proportion increases each year.
    "It's time for government to ensure all Canadians have access to
life-saving therapies," explained Ast.
    "Canadians need a catastrophic drug program because the high costs of
drugs have grown beyond the financial reach of individual families. Canadians
now incur high levels of prescription drug costs that were inconceivable only
a few years ago."
    The Report points to Quebec, as a good example for government to study
where prescription drug insurance is mandatory and where all residents pay a
premium to achieve universal coverage. Public drug plans are now moving
towards universal, income-based systems, the costs of which are shared by all
    "In the longer term we need our governments to equip Canadians with the
knowledge and supports they need to make healthier, life-saving choices
through prevention, screening, early detection and public awareness programs.
We need the federal government to do its part by fully implementing the
Canadian Strategy for Cancer Control and publicly report back the annual
progress that is achieved," continued Ast. "With 40 per cent of cancers being
preventable, everyone has an important role to play."
    Specifically, the report recommends the federal government establish a
catastrophic drug program with funding contingent on implementation of the
program by the provinces and territories within their existing public and
private systems of drug coverage.
    Copies of the full report can be viewed at

    The Campaign to Control Cancer

    The Campaign to Control Cancer is a national coalition of more than 70
leading Canadian cancer organizations that include Canada's leading grassroots
cancer patient, professional, charitable and corporate organizations, working
in unison to champion a better response to cancer control in Canada. This
coalition includes cancer patients, nurses, radiation therapist, patients,
doctors, families, advocates, researchers, corporate sponsors, cancer groups
and survivors that are dedicated to cutting cancer down to size through
knowledge, change and action. Find out more about C2CC at

    Cancer Control

    Canada has enough knowledge to cut the rate of cancer deaths by half over
the next generation. C2CC is working in partnership to reduce misconceptions
about what causes cancer and increase effective prevention efforts. We can
save approximately one million Canadians from getting cancer, half a million
from dying from it and improve the quality of life of everyone touched by it.
This is what we mean by controlling cancer.

For further information:

For further information: Ron Ross, Pathway Group, (416) 807-9061

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