April 20, 2015 –Ontario Drug Benefit Program
Ontario Hansard – 20-April2015
Mr. Ted Arnott: My remarks this afternoon are addressed to the Minister of Health. I was approached a few months ago by a constituent, Barbara Selkirk, whose mother, Marlene Shields, has been diagnosed with a stage 4 glioblastoma brain tumor.
After two operations, which removed as much of the tumor as medically possible, Marlene had both radiation and chemotherapy. These treatments did little to slow the growth of the tumor. However, for a year, she received biweekly infusion treatments with Avastin. This treatment seemed to work, and MRI results showed that her tumor had stabilized.
The cost of Avastin is up to $12,000 a month. The cost of the treatment has been covered by Marlene’s husband’s company’s health plan, but that comes to an end at the end of this month.
We know that the cost of Avastin is covered in British Columbia, Saskatchewan and Manitoba. If Marlene lived in any of these provinces, she would be assured that her treatment could continue. But because she lives in Ontario and the Ministry of Health says the manufacturer has not proven that Avastin works, the government will not fund it.
I know that the member for Dufferin–Caledon has written the minister on behalf of Marlene as well.
Time is running out. We implore the minister to personally review this matter and intervene on a compasssionate basis until the manufacturer can submit additional clinical evidence that Avastin works as a treatment for this kind of cancer.