I live in Ontario and can’t afford my cancer drug. What can I do?

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  1. David Young

    Great information. Really puts it into perspective as we had to jump through many hoops to get funding for Revlimid. Unfortunately it has bled dry our work drug coverage. Doctors continually point the figure at the Ontario government but are suspiciously silent regarding the outrageous price of some of the cancer drugs such as mine. I suppose it might endanger those nice ‘unrestricted educational grants’ or speaking and consulting fees paid out by pharmaceutical companies. I’m no conspiracy theorist but I ‘sees it the way it is’.

    • Jane McLaughlin

      David, my mother has just been prescribed Revlimid. The monthly cost in on the thousands. I would sincerely appreciate knowing how you attained funding for this medication. Thank-you.

      • Caroline Powell

        Hi Jane,

        My father has also been prescribed Revlimid, we’re you able to get funding for your mother? If so, may I ask what you did? Thank you.

      • Syed Hashmi

        You have to apply for trillium drug banifit.The hospital your mother getting treatment they should have given a form to fill once it is approved, you start getting Madison to be delivered to your home.This is what happened in my case.

    • Caroline Powell

      Hi David,

      My father has been recently denied Revlimid for his treatment. Are you able to discuss your process to receive funding for this treatment? Thank you.

  2. Martin

    I had to pay $110,000.00 for a new 2-drug combination treatment which saved my life but all the Ontario drug programs refused to help me with any of the cost. Now I’m healed, unemployed, and bankrupt.

    • Blake

      May I ask the name of the drugs that you used and the type of cancer you had?

  3. scott

    Comits a crime like walking into a bank with a note wait for the police goto jail gave it covered freedom or your life. If your in jail the government has a responsibility to pay. I’m in pain and unable to get treatment for it it wouldn’t be covered in jail I looked into it physio stuff like that won’t be provided

  4. Jess

    I am having problems with drug costs too. My background is I went to university (worked hard etc), then one week after I graduated I became seriously ill. I went from doctor to doctor. Doctors brushed me off initially. Finally I found out what was wrong. I now need 7 medications per day – a cost of $500/month. Like I said, I just graduated, no job yet, huge debt (fine, I picked that one), but the cost of my medication is killing me. I am in my 20’s. I have a chronic disease for life. Meaning $6000/year for life! Plus other costs, dental, etc.
    I tried Trillium but only 1 of 7 drugs are covered. The Exceptional Access Program denied the other 6. There is only one substitute which does not work as well, and to be honest that is not the most costly drug I really need help with. I feel it’s a smoke screen to pretend we’re helping people, but the majority of medications people need are not covered.
    I believe we need health and prescription medication for all people!
    Thank you for reading.

    • Lynn

      If you are unable to work a full schedule because of this chronic illness or it interferes with daily activities of living, then you may wish to apply for Ontario Works. This will give you access to Ontario Drug Benefits. Then make an application to ODSP, where if you are accepted, they will provide you with a small income and medical benefits which are numerous … drugs. Dental. Glasses. Others as required. If you are denied, appeal & if necessary, force it to the tribunal. Be organized. Do it quickly as Doug Ford plans to tighten the qualifiers. Best of luck.

  5. Finn Pike

    So is the moral is that we should strive to be poor wasteful with our money, so that we don’t have to loose a lifetime of hard work and savings to pay for health care that – has been funded, and used to justify higher and higher taxation, but is in fact not available when we are stricken with the most terrifying diagnosis in health? Call me crazy but that’s what I read.

  6. ed

    The problem is simple to solve. More people, directly connected to those who choose drug coverage for the rest of us, need to suffer the same illnesses. It seems in the political world the only way anything gets done is through personal experience. I’m certain the decision making people would suddenly wake up and change the situation if their loved ones were denied a life saving drug.

  7. connie gravelle

    Why are chemo pills so expensive. What is in these pills that makes them so costly. Why are the CEO’S of these drug companies earning millions of dollars a year. With the outrageous prices regular people have to pay for medication.
    Also, how much are the Drug store owners making off these drugs, and what is the mark up to the patient.

    How much is the government making off these medications?

    Is it not enough that people, who are suffering from cancer, on top of the suffering, now have to worry about having to pay huge medication bills. Leaving them with nothing but more heartache and financial worries.


    …OWN 3 or 4 BIG HOMES,



  8. Lise

    Do cancer patient need to move to British Columbia so they can be treated? It is my only way to be treated? I am not on Ontario work or disability. I am an entrepreneur with no dental or health coverage. Also, no insurance due to the fact that in 1989 (25 years old) was first diagnose with breast carcinoma). Now February 2017, second time with breast cancer and need to start chemo as soon as possible to shrink the tumor to be able to operated. Chemo for 4 months than mastectomy after follow with radiation treatment. Before any chemo, I need to pay for prescribe medication at about $30 000.00

    Should I sign my death certificate?

  9. Candace

    Any reason why it’s not mentioned that Sun Life requires a special authorization form completed by your oncologist every six months. They don’t notify you of this and they make no exceptions or offer any assistance. They are not easy to deal with.

    • Yanic

      I’m with Manulife. No such requirement. Just a make-work program for some puttz at Sunlife.

      • C McGhee

        Very hard to hear that the Ontario Goverment are treating people this way, I had no idea! Shame on them!

  10. Yanic

    Yes, Ontario has a second-rate cancer drug policy. However, just imagine how much could have been done, if we had the $billions that the Mcguinty-Wynne regime has pissed away on frivolous and poorly conceived/executed programs.

  11. george

    was diagnosed with stage 3c melanoma took lifnotes out of arm pit and was going into trile now they say 5 specs on lungs so now kicked out of trile now basck to scare one will my treatment be covered or do i just give up and think there is bno hope

  12. Denise

    We paid 20,000.00 for a cancer treatment for my husband’s cancer nobody would help us it all had to paid upfront before treatment was allowed. We worked our whole lives to have it taken away in a heartbeat very sad. People should be told cancer treatments are NOT free because we are lead to Believe they are

  13. Elisabeth Houle

    My husband was just told on Boxing day he has stage 4 Lung cancer and he never smoked or drink in his life and just found out my life insurance does not cover it is there a Insurance that cover cancer

  14. Sharon

    No drug company in the world should be getting this much money for someone life. And with everything else on the market, drug wise, are these big drug companies not taking enough money out of people’s pockets. Bet the company CEOs have no worries? It’s so upsetting to hear these stories of cancer. And to know that they just don’t care about others that are suffering. May God bless them all in there time of need.

  15. stephania romanini

    Good day, I am facing the same problem. I have been prescribed Afinitor 10 mg because of my stage 4 metastatic breast cancer and I am looking for a company that will help me to pay the 30% that my insurance will not cover and by the price I see of this medication I can’t afford it.. I live in Quebec and I don’t know where to look for this type of help. I know there is companies that help like Victory program they helped me with neupogene injections.. but for this medication Afinitor ( Everolimus) I really don’t know. thank you for your help.

  16. Ted Foster

    Thank you for this comprehensive explanation. It has been very helpful.

  17. Chloe

    Just wanted to say thank you for writing this breakdown and very useful information of how the medical system works in Ontario.

  18. june Weaver

    Thank You for all this information. It is a great help and gives me a little peace of mind that I won’t die feeling a lot of unnecessary pain.

  19. Syed Hashmi

    All cancer/serious sickness should be treated free of cost,when Canadian government can go beyond there country to help other countries why not help their own citizens. Like there is a saying that “every good starts from home.I pray to Allah the Magnificent to cure each and everyone and show everyone the straight path.

  20. Deb R

    This is a very insightful article. I also have metastatic breast cancer and need to take very expensive drugs to keep me alive. I’m very concerned about how I’m going to be able to afford it. I didn’t realize insurance companies have a lifetime cap of $100,000. Now there’s something else to worry about. I’m wondering about moving to Vancouver. And why aren’t all provinces handling cancer drugs the same way? It’s really sad that so many people are profitting from our suffering.

  21. Tatjana

    I would like to know why we don’t have same covering like British Columbia? Is not enough we deal with cancer. We are Canadians like them we pay taxes like in BC . That is mean if we don’t have money to buy medicine we can die. How fair is that Government need to do something for us!!!
    They shouldn’t let us to worry about medication what we have to take we ,worry enough for our life how to treat cancer , is cancer will be back and I can keep typing.
    What we have to do we should ask what free health care we have just basic and paying so much taxis. We need to ask Government to cover our medications to save our life’s like British Columbia have !!!!!

  22. Rodolfo Piedra

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  23. Hilda Macpherson

    I am receiving Chemo treatment for Ovarian cancer and am being with the drug gemcitabine combined with CARBOplatin. Could not receive Avastin because I was told that the cost was not covered in Ontario. I would like to know if this is true in this year 2020.
    I thank you for your article. It was very helpful.

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