Remember, you can't spell "Rational Use of Medicine" without R-A-T-I-O-N

  • by: |
  • 11/22/2006
I was in Montreal yesterday giving a lecture on why ideas -- and not just politics -- matter in health care. On my way to the hotel where the conference was being held I saw the headline of the Canada's newspaper of record, The Toronto Globe and Mail. In bold type, across the entire width of Page One was the headline:

Vow Broken on Cancer Wait Times

"It was a bold promise backed by billions of dollars in new government funding: Cancer patients should not have to wait longer than four weeks to obtain critical radiation treatment."

"Four weeks. That's double the maximum waiting time oncologists recommend but still seemingly better than the cancer-care limbo many patients faced when Liberal health minister Ujjal Dosanjh and his provincial counterparts made the announcement last December."

"But figures obtained by The Globe and Mail show a staggering 70% of Canadian hospitals surveyed are unable to meet that standard for prostate cancer patients."

You get the picture?

And yesterday was only the most recent installment of a weeklong series on how the Canadian health care system is failing cancer patients.

Today's headline reads:

Provincial drug disparity a roadblock to cancer research

"For the first time, Canada is unable to participate in a key clinical cancer trial because patients are not getting the best known treatment."

"Since most provinces don't fund Avastin, a crucial drug in the fight against colorectal cancer, Canadian patients could not join a trial run by the National Cancer Institute in the United States, which is studying what drug is most effective with chemotherapy — Avastin or Erbitux — or if they work best given together."

Please pass along this important and devastating series to anyone who recommends that what we need in the US is a system "just like Canada."

Here's a link to the series:

It's a worthwhile, disturbing read.

Center for Medicine in the Public Interest is a nonprofit, non-partisan organization promoting innovative solutions that advance medical progress, reduce health disparities, extend life and make health care more affordable, preventive and patient-centered. CMPI also provides the public, policymakers and the media a reliable source of independent scientific analysis on issues ranging from personalized medicine, food and drug safety, health care reform and comparative effectiveness.

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