July 29, 2014 Print

The Fraser Institute, an Atlas Network partner in Canada, released a report on the efficiency of the cross-province group pan-Canadian Oncology Drug Review (pCODR) in reviewing and approving life-saving cancer treatment medications. The test results are in and they aren’t good. The pCODR was established in 2010 by the Ministries of Health to assess cancer treatment drugs as an answer to the highly public pleas of cancer patients, caregivers and oncologists for quicker access to life-extending and life-saving drugs. Since its inception, it has completed reviews for 32 submissions (several drugs had to be re-submitted for review due to submission process errors). These reviews took longer than the targeted timetable and are often completely ignored by the Canadian provinces, further delaying options for people who have little time to waste. The pCODR “often duplicated work performed by other governmental agencies”. Many cancer patients in Canada have resorted to asking for private donations for their treatment due to the rising costs of drugs, bureaucratic delay and unequal access. Others have had to simply go without them. Is all the tax money and time being spent well on the pCODR? To read the full report from The Fraser Institute, click here.