August 23, 2012

ANNALS OF GOVERNMENT HEALTH CARE: Prostate Cancer Drug Not Funded.

There are two tiers of men with advanced prostate cancer in Ontario: Those who get access to a remarkable drug through private insurance, and those who get a death sentence.

The grim news is often delivered at the London Regional Cancer Program to men whose shoulders sag and jaws drop when told Ontario’s Health Ministry has for 15 months refused to pay for a medication covered by every other Canadian province.

“There’s shock, fury and dismay,” said oncologist Kylea Potvin. “Everyone thinks we have this wonderful universal health care system, but this is absolutely not the case. We’ve increasingly become a two-tier health care system where if you have money, you have access.” . . .

A pill with few side effects, Zytiga targets an enzyme needed to make a hormone that feeds the cancer and studies have shown it to slow its progression, leaving men living months or even years longer and without as much pain.

It was quickly approved in the United States and by Health Canada.

But Ontario rejected the application, a decision that’s left heroic patients such as Percy Bedard of Zurich calling on Ontarians to ask their government why it has abandoned so many men to suffer and die before they should.

(1) They’re men, and nobody cares as much if men die. (2) On average, they’re past their earning years and if they die earlier it helps the pension problem. And men who live too long are just a burden on society anyway.

Expect this sort of thing here, soon, under ObamaCare. Probably with rules designed to discourage doctors from telling patients about treatments the government would rather not pay for.