People in Ontario are dying from Hepatitis C because they can't afford the drugs that can cure the disease. The provincial government won't cover the cost, and has not accounted for $132 million it received from the Federal Government earmarked for Hepatitis C treatment.
On November 4, 2014, Brenda Peever from Ottawa died from complications of Hepatitis C contracted from a blood transfusion she received in 1979. Mrs. Peever was eligible for a new drug that has a 90% cure rate, but she could not afford the $55,000 cost. The province would not fund the treatment. Her story can be found here:
Now word that a man in Windsor is facing the same issue:
This should not be happening. In 2002, the Ontario government signed an agreement with the Federal government which transferred to Ontario $132 million to provide health care to people who were infected with hepatitis C through tainted blood received before 1986. The funds were provided over 10 years. The final payment of approximately $21 million was scheduled for this fiscal year (2014/15).
The Agreement states:
"WHEREAS there are health care services for Hepatitis C that are not fully insured by publicly financed health care systems in Canada;"
"The parties agree that their shared policy objective is to ensure that persons infected with Hepatitis C through the blood system prior to January 1, 1986 and after July 1, 1990 have reasonable access to therapeutic health care services indicated for the treatment/cure of Hepatitis C."
"The parties agree that the federal transfers will be used for health care services indicated for the treatment of Hepatitis C infection, and medical conditions directly related to it, such as current and emerging antiviral drug therapies, other relevant drug therapies, immunization and nursing care."
The agreement also required the Ontario government to issue reports to the public every 5 years on how the money was being spent. The government issued a report in 2007. Although a report was due under the agreement in 2012, it does not appear that any such report was issued.
The 2007 report, which also attaches a copy of the agreement, can be found at:
en/common/ministry/ publications/reports/hepc_ agreement/hepc_agreement_ 20070207.pdf
It is unacceptable that a person in this province died because there was no funding for a drug that could have cured her, when the province has received millions of dollars from the federal government specifically earmarked for such treatments. The Ontario government has not accounted for those funds, despite a written agreement requiring such reports.
I raised the issue of the transfers, and the missing report, directly with then Health Minister Matthews in February 2014, but never received any followup.
Where is the money? Why is Ontario 3 years late in accounting for how it has been spent? Why won't the government spend that money on drugs that can cure the disease?