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Letter to Minister Michael DeJong – May 17, 2012

May 17th, 2012

Minister Michael DeJong
BC Ministry of Health
Room 337 – Parliament Building
Victoria, BC V8V 1X4

Dear Minister DeJong:

We recently received a copy of the AMD (Age-Related Macular Degeneration) Treatment Program through a Freedom of Information request directed to the Provincial Health Services Authority. Following careful study, we are writing your office to acquire an explanation to the following:

  • There are warnings against the unauthorised use of Avastin for AMD treatment. In December 2011 Health Canada issued specific warnings about the risks of using Avastin to treat AMD patients. Why does Avastin continue to be provided by the province as a treatment option in light of the fact that it remains to be unapproved by Health Canada for wet AMD?
  • Why does the program include a financial link to physician remuneration that favours the use of this unapproved drug? Section 23.b. of the program states that the amount available for physician reimbursement under the program equals the net amount remaining after the expense of the drug is deducted.
  • Why is an “Administrative Fee” in the amount of $300 being paid to all physicians in the program when a major justification of the $300 fee is to remunerate physicians for travelling to health regions outside of the lower mainland and Victoria? Why is this fee not restricted solely to those doctors that are traveling for patients they treat in remote clinics?

Our database indicates that a significant number of our members are affected by AMD; therefore, your earliest possible reply would be appreciated.