Cancer drug approval slowed by budget issues

The provincial budget is a factor when it comes to delays in approving new cancer drugs, say P.E.I. health officials.

Wait times are double those in Ontario

The provincial budget is a factor when it comes to delays in approving new cancer drugs, say P.E.I. health officials.

Some may be for cancers that we do not see on P.E.I.- Denise Lewis Fleming, Health PEI

After new cancer drugs are approved by the national pan-Canadian Oncology Drug Review, it takes an average of 309 days for P.E.I. to add them to the formulary, according to a Fraser Institute report. The P.E.I. chapter of the Canadian Cancer Society is concerned that average is more than twice as long as the wait in Ontario.

Denise Lewis Fleming, director of financial services and pharmacare, said some sort of provincial review is necessary.

"We have to look at what are the funds available and what are the prioritized needs of Islanders," said Fleming.

"Some may be for cancers that we do not see on P.E.I. or are extremely rare, whereas some are more prevalent and those are the ones that we really need to look at."

She hopes a provincial drug and therapeutics committee, formed a year-and-a-half ago, will help fast-track listings.

Lewis Fleming also anticipates the province's new generic drug pricing law will free up money for some of these more expensive drugs.

Island health officials estimate 30 drugs approved by the national body are still being reviewed locally.

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.