We have been anxiously awaiting the decision of the Conseil de medicament in Quebec on two treatment options for kidney cancer patients in Quebec. Today we saw the news…due October 1st, then delayed until October 15th. Unfortunately the decision in Quebec is, once again, not at all favourable to anyone living with metastatic renal cell carcinoma in the province of Quebec.
First Blow — Applies to First Line Treatment in Quebec
Firstly, Torisel has been denied by the Conseil for the third time. (Reminder to all: Torisel is reimbursed in a growing number of provinces including BC, SK, ON, NL, NS.) For patients with poor prognosis or with non-clear cell renal carcinoma, Torisel is a much-needed treatment option. Unfortunately patients in Quebec will not have that choice. See the official denial on the cDM website:
Second Blow — Applies to Second Line Treatment
Secondly, the Conseil has decided that second-line treatment with Afinitor is not worth funding. The reasons we have mostly heard before (that the data shows “progression free survival” vs. “overall survival”), that the cost is too high for the expected statistical benefit, and now a brand new argument:
— that the clinical trial type of population is not being representative of Quebec patients
For those who speak French, check out this very bizarre and dangerous rationale on the cDM website:
Recap: Is One Out of Five Enough?
So, for a quick review of Health-Canada approved treatments in the province of Quebec:
1. Nexavar — not approved by the Conseil, repeated applications, repeated denials
2. Sutent — approved as first line therapy
3. Torisel — not approved by the Conseil, denied three times
4. Afinitor — not approved by the Conseil, denied Oct 15 2010.
5. Votrient — (not yet reviewed)
So, a province with 25% of the Canadian population has the poorest funded treatment options. Momentum is building in Quebec for a grassroots patient-led advocacy movement to bring some of these issues to light.
As KCCR/ACCR (Association canadienne du cancer du rein), we’ll be providing samples of letters that you can send to your MNA and to the Health Minister, Yves Bolduc, in the days to come. We will need patients in the province of Quebec to speak out and let it be known that ONE out of FIVE treatment options is not enough!