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Statement by NDP Leader Andrea Horwath on Herceptin funding

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THUNDER BAY, ON - May 13, 2011 - “I am pleased the Ministry of Health has decided to do the right Jill Anzarutthing and immediately fund the cancer drug Herceptin for patients with breast cancer tumors of one centimetre or less.

Jill Anzarut went public with her attempt to obtain funding for Herceptin after she was diagnosed with breast cancer and prescribed the drug by her oncologist.  Unfortunately, the McGuinty Liberals told Ms. Anzarut that the tumor in her breast was not large enough to qualify her for OHIP coverage of Herceptin in spite of its availability in other provinces.

The policies around the funding of Herceptin appeared to be arbitrary and contradict the universality principles of the Canada Health Act.

It is the government’s job to answer for bureaucratic decisions that lack compassion, transparency and common sense. New Democrats pressured the McGuinty Liberals, for weeks, to admit there was something wrong with the system and change the rules for Ontarian’s suffering from breast cancer.

The bottom line is: no woman or man who is diagnosed with breast cancer should have to fight their cancer as well as the government.

We are relieved that no other Ontarian with a similar medical condition will be forced to endure what Jill Anzarut did – fighting for access to a prescribed, medically-necessary drug.”

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