Suzanne Winters was diagnosed with breast cancer in July, and she can’t afford the medication she needs.
“I’m very worried about if I have to use some of my retirement savings in order to live, and then what if I do live?”
It’s a question many Canadians have to ask according to Joanne Parker, an organizer with the Campaign to Control Cancer.
Parker’s group held a rally outside province house yesterday, calling for national catastrophic drug coverage, and asking Nova Scotia Health Minister Maureen MacDonald to lobby the federal government.
“The burden of these incredibly expensive drugs is too much for many provinces,” she said. “We’re not asking the Nova Scotia government to cover more drugs today, we’re asking them to help us move this to the federal level.”
MacDonald addressed the group of about 30 demonstrators, pledging to bring up the issue at the next federal, provincial and territorial ministers meeting, which she will chair for the next two years.
“I very much would like to see this on the … agenda for our talks,” she said.
“There are drugs that are so extraordinarily expensive but necessary.”
While MacDonald said a long-term solution will take time, the province is doing what it can to help cancer patients now. Winters, for her part, accepts that.
“I don’t know what’s going to happen to me,” she said, laughing. “I’m just, I’m doing what I can here today to help whoever.”