Nova Scotia rejects pricey cancer drug

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avastinCANADA - Nova Scotia will not pay for a drug that prolongs the lives of some cancer patients, saying the cost is too much for taxpayers.

Avastin extends the lives of late-stage colorectal cancer by about five months. It works by stopping the blood supply to cancerous tumours.

But the drug costs about $3,000 a month per patient, and the Department of Health has decided not to fund it under the provincial health plan.

A 16-member provincial committee reviewing cancer drugs made the recommendation after looking at the long-terms costs of funding Avastin.

"We're now at the point where we have to decide if we can afford everything that's being provided to us," committee chair Bruce Saunders told CBC News on Thursday.

Health Canada approved Avastin for use in September 2005.

British Columbia and Newfoundland and Labrador cover the cost under their provincial health plans, while Ontario does not.

Some other provinces are still reviewing their options.

Last month, the manufacturer of Avastin warned the drug has been linked to serious complications in a small number of patients worldwide.

source - CBC 

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