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how car-t is an opportunity for canada

the arrival of car t-cell therapy is disrupting the canadian healthcare system, but it has also offered an opportunity for canada to position itself as a leader in the delivery of car-t cell therapy – circa 6 months ago. the delays in actually providing access to patients means we’ve missed the boat to capitalizing on the opportunity that was car-t and the sails of leadership have sailed along with it.

canada is faced with several unique challenges— mostly with processes that cause delays throughout the pathway for a therapy to actually reach patients. while health canada, CADTH and INESSS responded responsibly to this disruptive technology, the delays during the negotiation process, normally undertaken by pCPA, but mandated by CCO in this case, has held up bringing this potentially life saving treatment to the patients who need it. and with little or no communication to stakeholders.

the slow uptake of car t-cell therapy stems from the high cost associated to the technology, as well as the the lack of infrastructure needed to able to provide access to patients. a lack of adequate and sufficient reimbursement policies will deepen the divide of accessing innovative medicines in a timely fashion in canada, beyond car-t.

while we have certainly missed the opportunity to provide leadership in delivering car-t throughout canada and position ourselves as a global leader, canadian policymakers still have an opportunity to tackle those obstacles and bring back the care in cancer care.

as we look further down the line at therapies that continue to revolutionize how cancer is treated and maybe even cured, we need to ask ourselves are there ways we can start doing this better for patients?


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