Toronto cancer clinic to open next month

July 14, 2005 at 2:56 PM

TORONTO, July 14 (UPI) -- Toronto-area cancer patients will soon have access through a private clinic to expensive drugs that the public health system in Ontario is not funding.

The Toronto clinic opening next month will provide and administer cancer medications to those who can pay for them personally or through a third-party insurer, the Globe and Mail reported Thursday.

Clinic operators say they hope to stem the flow of Canadian cancer patients who travel to United States to obtain costly drugs.

The clinic's operators told the Globe and Mail they will offer at least six new cancer treatments that are approved for use by Health Canada, but not funded by Ontario.

Included is Herceptin, a breast-cancer drug that can cost as much as $45,000 a year, and Velcade, a $35,000-per-cycle treatment for multiple myeloma.

Dr. Keith Stewart, an oncologist at Toronto's Princess Margaret Hospital, told the Globe and Mail: "There's a demand for this service and I don't see why we should be denying some patients access (to the medications) if they can afford it. The default position here is that if not everybody can get it, then nobody should get it."

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