The Government of Quebec's Ministère de la santé et des services sociaux has approved the addition of Revlimid(R) (lenalidomide) to the Province's Drug Formulary as a third-line therapy for multiple myeloma patients. The cost of the drug will be reimbursed under the Province's medicare system.
In a decision made public on February 1, 2010, the Province's Conseil du médicament published a detailed analysis which concluded that, based on supposed uncertainties related to cost and cost benefit, Revlimid would not be funded as second-line therapy.
John Lemieux, President of Myeloma Canada, commented: "The Conseil's decision, driven solely by cost considerations, sets Quebec apart from every jurisdiction that has approved Revlimid for public funding. Revlimid (with dexamethazone) is a second-line therapy in Ontario, British Columbia, Alberta and Saskatchewan and in a number of other international jurisdictions. The Conseil recognizes the therapeutic value of Revlimid, but ignores that fact. In so doing, the Conseil has failed to recognize that denying patients access to Revlimid until they have relapsed twice after other treatments means patients will not get the best therapy when they would most benefit from it. Keeping Revlimid from patients until later in the disease process will shorten their life expectancy and affect their quality of life."