Ombudsman Ontario

Ombudsman Ontario

March 18, 2011 11:18 ET

Ombudsman to Investigate Ontario's Limited Funding of Herceptin

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - March 18, 2011) - Ontario Ombudsman André Marin today announced an investigation into the provincial Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care's decision not to provide funding for the drug Herceptin for breast cancer patients whose tumours are less than one centimetre in diameter.

The province's funding of Herceptin is limited to patients whose tumours are larger than one centimetre. The Ombudsman is investigating whether the Ministry's decision to limit funding in this way was informed and reasonable.

Mr. Marin said his office has been looking into the issue since February 28, when his office received a complaint from patient Jill Anzarut about being denied funding. "Based on our informal interviews with oncologists and officials from Cancer Care Ontario and the Ministry, I've determined that this case raises issues serious enough to warrant a systemic investigation," he said.

The investigation will be conducted by the Special Ombudsman Response Team (SORT). In 2009, SORT investigated the Ministry's decision to restrict funding of the colorectal cancer drug Avastin to a set number of treatments. In his September 2009 report A Vast Injustice, the Ombudsman found that decision was unreasonable and wrong, and the Ministry lifted the cap in December 2009.

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