My mother has Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia, and was first diagnosed in 2009. She was treated in October 2010 with Fludarabine and Rituximab. She only received 2 treatments, because she had an adverse reaction to Fludarabine and ended up with such a severe lung infection that she was hospitalized and nearly died. Luckily, her cancer went into remission. However, within the last 6 months it has returned and her doctor recommended immediate treatment with Bendamustine and Rituximab. With this treatment protocol her prognosis for a long remission is very good.
However, on April 7th, 2014, my mother Anne Mitchell was sitting in the oncology ward at William Osler Hospital with an IV in her arm about to receive her first of six chemotherapy treatments for Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia when the pharmacist came over and informed her that the government would not pay for her treatment.
As he explained, the main drug her doctor prescribed (Bendamustine) is only covered for 'first line' chemo. Since my mother had chemo before, it's not covered for her. Even though she wasn't able to complete the chemo before because she had such a negative reaction to Fludarabine and is unable to take that medication again.
The other issue is that along with the main drug, they give a companion drug (Rituximab). Rituximab is approved for second line use, but only with Fludarabine the drug my mother can't take.
Despite our best efforts, we have been unable to get the government to reverse their decision, so we have to turn to friends, family, and supporters for help.
The total cost for this treatment is $52,000. The manufacturer of Bendamustine has agreed to cover $5,400 of the cost, which leaves my parents with $46,600 to pay so my mother can receive the treatement she needs to live.
As my parents are both retired, any amount raised will help them immensly. We are shocked and saddened that the Canadian government has put us in this position of asking for help, and we appreciate any donation you can make.
For news coverage of my mother's situation, please see the following: http://globalnews.ca/video/1279503/brampton-grandmothers-battles-against-cancer-for-second-time http://www.thestar.com/life/health_wellness/2014/04/22/brampton_woman_must_pay_for_cancer_drugs_usually_covered_by_ohip.html http://www.bramptonguardian.com/news-story/4465969-brampton-woman-denied-ohip-coverage-for-life-saving-cancer-drugs/