Those of you interested in treatment access for metastatic kidney cancer should be aware of an impending date: Jan 20th 2011 is the date that will end a one-year access program for Afinitor.
Patients already receiving the drug on the AfiniTrak program will continue to receive their drug. However, starting January 21st 2011, whether you can access Afinitor or not will depend upon:
a) Whether your province has decided to reimburse this drug (if you are eligible for your provincial pharmacare program)
b) Whether you have private drug insurance, and whether your specific coverage and plan includes coverage for Afinitor for mrcc
c) Whether you have enough private funds to cover the cost of the drug yourself.
Where are we with provincial reimbursement?
On behalf of all kidney cancer patients in Canada, Kidney Cancer Canada has submitted:
1. A Patient Evidence Submission to the Ontario Public Drug Program. (Note: under the current Joint Oncology Drug Review process, the Ontario recommendation whether to reimburse or not influences all other provinces, excepting Quebec. A decision from Ontario is due this fall.
2. A letter to the Conseil de medicament (Quebec) requesting Afinitor access. A decision from Quebec is due this October.
Should you be concerned?
Quite frankly, we think so. We cannot take it for granted that Afinitor will be covered in every province. We sincerely hope that those provinces who have taken a leadership role before (British Columbia, Nova Scotia) will make an early decision to reimburse Afinitor. Our submission to Ontario describes a compelling need to have second-line treatments available. In Quebec, only one of the three first-line options is reimbursed (Sutent, but not Nexavar and not Torisel).
Looking ahead, we will definitely need patients and their families to get involved to let our Health Ministries and elected representatives know that we desperately need Afinitor accessible through public-funding. Right now, Afinitor is the ONLY drug with solid data in the second line (that is, after a TKI treatment such as Sutent or Nexavar).
Stay tuned. In the meantime, if you are thinking that Afinitor may play a role in your future treatment plan, please speak to your oncologist well ahead of the January 20th date.
If we work together, we can make sure that we don’t have patients falling between the cracks and left without funded treatment options.