LAVAL, QC, Nov. 23, 2015 /CNW Telbec/ - Patients and representatives of Myeloma Canada had the honour of meeting deputes and ministers of the National Assembly on November 19 and speaking to them about the realities of patients suffering from multiple myeloma. Multiple myeloma is an incurable cancer of the plasma cells, but there are various treatment options that can extend a patient's life expectancy and quality of life.
Three major issues were addressed that day, including patients' concerns about Article 60.0.2 of the new Bill 28, which allows the Minister of Health and Social Services to temporarily exclude a medication whose cost is covered by the basic plan coverage during negotiations with the pan-Canadian Pharmaceutical Alliance on the price of the drug. Another concern discussed was the unfavourable opinion issued by INESSS (Quebec National Institute for Health Service Excellence) issued in July 2014 regarding the registering of Pomalidomide (PomalystTM) on the list of medications for treating multiple myeloma. There was also a discussion about the vital importance of timely access to new multiple myeloma treatments approved by Health Canada in the coming years.
When asked about Article 60.0.2 during a private meeting with Myeloma Canada directors and a few patients, Minister Barrette was reassuring and pledged never to put the lives of multiple myeloma patients in danger, by suspending availability of myeloma treatment drugs during the INESSS negotiation process.
"This commitment represents hope for multiple myeloma patients who will need access to a new line of treatment. Myeloma Canada welcomes this openness and will make sure to keep the Minister of Health and Social Services updated on the specific needs of patients," stated Francine Gendron, CEO of Myeloma Canada.
Myeloma Canada also met with Diane Lamarre, critic for the official opposition for health and healthcare accessibility. Ms. Lamarre was sensitive to the cause of myeloma patients and pledged her support. Denis Bilodeau, Chairman of Myeloma Canada's Board of Directors, later confirmed, "Our meeting with Ms. Lamarre was very informative. She is a trained pharmacist who understands the realities of patients and has committed to supporting the cause of multiple myeloma patients. We are very appreciative of this."
This day to build awareness among members of the National Assembly of Quebec was also a chance for patients, caregivers and Myeloma Canada representatives to meet. Attendees included Geoffrey Kelley, Jacques Chagnon, Manon Massé, Jean-François Roberge, Saul Polo, Sébastien Proulx, Benoit Charrette, Christine St-Pierre, Raymond Bernier, Alain Therrien and the Dean of the House for the National Assembly, François Gendron.
At the end of the day, patients and caregivers felt that progress had been made. "Today was a chance for me to raise awareness about myeloma, a little-known disease, and the reactions of politicians gave me hope that the government of Quebec will support multiple myeloma patients," stated Hervé Benoît, Quebec's representative to the Myeloma Canada's Patient Advisory Council.
About Multiple Myeloma
Multiple Myeloma is a blood cancer of the plasma cells that ravages the bone marrow. It affects approximately 7,500 Canadians and, every day, seven more Canadians are diagnosed. Advances in treatments are helping to prolong life expectancy with median survival rates having increased from three to five years to over 10 years now. Despite this increase in life expectancy, it remains incurable with 1,300 people dying from multiple myeloma annually.
About Myeloma Canada
Myeloma Canada is a registered non-profit organization created by, and for, people living with multiple myeloma. Since 2005, it is the only national organization exclusively devoted to the Canadian myeloma community. Patient-driven and patient-focused, Myeloma Canada seeks to strengthen the voice of the Canadian myeloma community by working with leading myeloma researchers and clinicians, local support groups and other cancer organizations to improve the quality of life of myeloma patients, their caregivers and their families through education, awareness, advocacy and research. The organization has recently founded the Myeloma Canada Research Network (MCRN), the first and only national academic research group bringing together Canada's leading myeloma investigators from 19 centers across Canada. Ontario patients may have access to clinical trials in the Ottawa, Toronto, London and Windsor MCRN affiliated centers.
SOURCE Myeloma Canada
Image with caption: "Minister Gaétan Barrette; Francine Gendron, CEO Myeloma Canada; Jean-Pierre De Grâces, patient; Diane Poupart, patient; Hervé Benoît, patient; Josée Rainville Senior Communication Manager; Denis Bilodeau, Chair Myeloma Canada (CNW Group/Myeloma Canada)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20151123_C6234_PHOTO_EN_551889.jpg
For further information: please contact: Josée Rainville | Email : [email protected] | Tel : (514) 923-1045