We can't pay for patients' drugs: Canadian Cancer Society
Despite a complaint by a central Newfoundland woman who says she was told to raise money for her own drug therapy, the Canadian Cancer Society says it is fighting on behalf of people who can't afford to pay for potentially life-saving drugs.
"We are actively lobbying the federal government to establish a national catastrophic drug program," said spokesperson Angela Noseworthy. "It's not acceptable that cancer patients should have to worry about how they pay for the cost of drugs."
Edna Kelly has had non-Hodgkins lymphoma for 13 years and needs an immunostimulant drug, Mozobil, for a stem cell transplant.
It's not acceptable that cancer patients should have to worry about how they pay for the cost of drugs.- Angela Noseworthy
The provincial government covered 80 per cent of the costs of the drug and told Kelly to fundraise for the remaining costs.
The Canadian Cancer Society turned Kelly down for the remaining costs and told Kelly they don't fund cases such as hers.
Kelly was upset with the response and wondered what has happened to all the money she has raised for the organization in the last 13 years.
She was eventually able to pay for the remaining 20 per cent of the medication with the help of her church, Windsor Penetecostal church.
The Canadian Cancer Society says despite Kelly's complaint it cannot afford to pay for drugs for every patient.
The organization can help by subsidizing the cost of meals and accommodation at Daffodil Place, a facility for people with cancer and their caregivers who must travel to St. John's for cancer treatment.
"A lot of it does go towards basically keeping the lights on at Daffodil Place and providing those meals so it is helping individuals," said Noseworthy.
"If anyone were to come to us and say I need drugs covered we would definitely work with them and connect them to external bodies."