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McGuinty government improving access to cancer-fighting drug


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McGuinty government improving access to cancer-fighting drugs

Velcade And Three Other Drugs To Be Funded By The Province

TORONTO, July 7 /CNW/ - The McGuinty government is improving access to

better drug treatment for approximately 1,400 people this year, rising to

2,600 next year, with the funding of four new cancer-fighting drugs, Health

and Long-Term Care Minister George Smitherman announced today.

"Ontarians engaged in a battle with cancer must have the support of our

government," Smitherman said. "We're committed to helping them in their

struggle by providing access to the medications and treatments that will give

them the best possible chance of winning their fight."

The McGuinty government will provide $8.2 million this year, increasing

to $15 million the next year, to provide coverage for the following drug



The funding of these drugs is based on recommendations of the Drug

Quality and Therapeutics Committee (DQTC), an arm's length advisory body of

medical experts who assess the scientific evidence for drugs.

"This is great news for cancer patients in Ontario," said Cancer Care

Ontario CEO Terry Sullivan. "The government has moved responsibly, based on

best evidence, to ensure these drugs were properly reviewed and then made

available to patients as quickly as possible."

This is just the latest example of how the McGuinty government is on the

side of Ontario families concerned about health care. Other initiatives



- Funding a post-market study on drug treatments for Fabry Disease that

provides treatment to eligible patients

- Establishing an external task force to provide advice to the

government on how to improve methadone treatment in the province.

- Passing the Transparent Drug Systems for Patients Act (Bill 102),

which is part of the government's reform of the provincial drug

system to ensure improved patient access to drugs and better value

for money. The Act is expected to save the government $277 million

dollars per year, money that can be used to fund more drugs like



In the case of Velcade, the government was able to provide funding after

the drug manufacturer provided the DQTC with the information required to

support a positive funding recommendation.

"In the spirit of Bill 102, this is an example of a truly collaborative

effort, whereby the manufacturer, CCO, and the Ministry worked together to

address some of the initial concerns of the expert committee, which has now

resulted in a positive recommendation," said Smitherman.

Today's initiative is part of the McGuinty government's plan for

innovation in public health, building a system that delivers on three

priorities - keeping Ontarians healthy, reducing wait times and providing

better access to doctors and nurses.

This news release, along with other media materials, such as matte

stories and audio clips, on other subjects, are available on our website at:

http://www.health.gov.on.ca under the News Media section.

For more information on achievements in health care, visit:


Disponible en français.


Ontario's drug review process

When considering funding for new drugs, Ontario relies on the expert

advice of medical professionals who are members of the Drug Quality and

Therapeutics Committee (DQTC). The DQTC thoroughly reviews and evaluates the

clinical evidence, scientific data and cost-effectiveness of drug products and

makes a recommendation to the Minister of Health and Long-Term Care on whether

funding should be provided.

Cancer drug review process

In early 2005, the Ministry established a joint sub-committee of the DQTC

and Cancer Care Ontario, the Ontario government's principal advisor on cancer

care. The sub-committee provides expert advice to the DQTC, whose

recommendation on whether to provide funding is made to the minister of Health

and Long-Term Care.

This new joint advisory body streamlines the cancer drug approval process

and ensures a consistent approach to drug funding decisions. It also means

the province can update its cancer drug coverage more frequently as new drugs

are recommended and approved.

How The Four New Cancer Drugs Work


Transparent Drug System for Patients Act

The McGuinty government is further improving the drug approval process

through the Transparent Drug System for Patients Act. This act will allow our

government to improve access to drug treatment and deliver better value for

money to the taxpayers of Ontario. The government's plan to reform the drug

system includes:


For further information: Media Contacts: David Spencer, Minister's

Office, (416) 327-4320; John Letherby, Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care,

(416) 314-6197; Members of the general public: (416) 327-4327, or



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