Who is the CanCertainty Coalition?

The CanCertainty Coalition is made up of more than 30 Canadian patient groups, physician and health care charities, and caregiver organizations who are all committed to ensuring all Canadians have CanCertainty – certainty that if cancer strikes them or their loved ones they will have fair and equal access to cancer treatment – no matter their age, cancer type, treatment type or where they live.

What is the focus of the CanCertainty Coalition?

The CanCertainty Coalition is focused on significantly improving the affordability and accessibility of cancer treatment for all patients across Canada. Currently, our activities are centred on ending the inequities of how take-home cancer treatments are funded across Canada.

Canada’s Western provinces treat take-home cancer drugs and hospital-administered cancer drugs equally, regardless of the patient’s cancer type, age, or income and patients receive their treatment without delay or out-of-pocket cost. In Quebec, all people without private insurance, pay a public insurance premium of up to a maximum of $1,046 per year, after which the cost of take-home cancer medications are fully covered.

In Ontario and the Atlantic provinces, patients face two-tiered and out-of-date cancer systems that are riddled with administrative hurdles, out-of-pocket costs to the patient and significant delays for take-home cancer treatments.

The CanCertainty Coalition is asking for Ontario and the Atlantic provinces to put patients first by committing to create a sustainable solution that enables all patients to access all approved cancer drugs without cost or delay.

Why are all your efforts concentrated in Ontario and Atlantic Canada?

The cancer systems in Ontario and the Atlantic province are out-of-date and haven’t adapted to the reality that take-home medications are an important and effective way to treat cancer.  It’s in these provinces that there is a lack of equity between the systems to access take-home cancer drugs and hospital-administered cancer drugs.

Major differences include the time patients spend waiting to start treatment, out-of-pocket costs to the patient, and quality of care for patients treated at home.  This inequity within the cancer system exists for arbitrary historical reasons that no longer apply.

That’s why the CanCertainty Coalition works to encourage Ontario and the Atlantic provinces to level up and put patients first.

Is the campaign related to funding of a particular drug? A particular type of cancer?

No. The CanCertainty campaign is not related to any specific drug or type of cancer.  Currently, our activities are centred on ending the inequities of how take-home cancer treatments are funded across Canada, so patients will not have to endure administrative hurdles, delays in starting their treatment and significant out-of-pocket costs.

The purpose of the campaign is to ensure equity among the provinces, equity among cancer patients and equity among types of cancer.

How much will it cost to fund take-home cancer treatments?

The CanCertainty Coalition has engaged professional health economists to estimate the cost to fund take-home cancer treatments.

In Nova Scotia, the government could close coverage gaps for take-home cancer medications for less than $2 million. The estimate is based on data from the Nova Scotia Department of Health and Wellness regarding current drug program expenditures and coverage. It assumes that private insurance remains part of the coverage solution, an approach that will minimize the incremental financial burden for the province.

In Ontario, it is estimated an investment of $28 - $93 million – or roughly one per cent of Ontario’s total 2012 drug budget – will ensure all patients in Ontario have access to take-home cancer medications. The investment is also estimated to lead to at least a 17 per cent reduction in overall chemotherapy unit cost.  The same holds true, proportionally, for Newfoundland and Labrador, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island. 

How is the CanCertainty Coalition funded?

The CanCertainty Coalition is supported through various channels, including Canadians concerned about cancer care,  in-kind support from over 35 cancer organizations, a financial contribution from the Canadian Cancer Action Network (CCAN), and corporate donors.  What’s important to recognize is that the CanCertainty campaign is not about a specific drug or cancer type – it is about ensuring all Canadians have fair and equal access to cancer treatments taken at home regardless of their household income, private insurance status or in which province they live. 

How can I get involved?

There are four ways you and your family can get involved:

  1. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook. Make sure to share and like our posts to help raise awareness of the issue and show your support.
  2. If you or a family member faced inequities in the cancer system, consider sharing your story.
  3. Contact your local government official and let them know the funding gap in cancer care should be closed.
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