Fighting for life-altering cancer drug
Looking at Andrew McPhedran you would never imagine the 55-year-old is battling stage four non-small cell lung cancer.
“A year ago I was diagnosed but (it’s) probably years in the making,” McPhedran said.
A non-smoker McPhedran was diagnosed with an epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) mutation in January 2019.
McPhedran’s doctor suggested he start taking osimertinib (Tagrisso®) as a first-line therapy.
“We know it’s more effective from previous (treatments), we know that people live longer with it, we know it had fewer side-effects,” said Dr. Paul Wheatley-Price, President of Lung Cancer Canada.
McPhedran says following treatment he began feeling better. The aches, pains and fever he previously experienced began to go away.
“If he didn’t have this drug there’s a good chance he wouldn’t be here today,” said Dr. Wheatley-Price.
The problem is the drug is not covered for everyone.
Dr. Wheatley-Price says osimertinib is not publicly funded as the first line of treatment in Ontario. McPedran’s private insurance also wouldn’t cover the drug which can cost anywhere between $8,000 and $14,000 per month.
McPhedran’s daughter Rachel began crowdfunding to raise enough money to purchase the life-altering medication for her father. The GoFundMe page has reached $200,000.
The family is now pushing to see the drug publicly funded so other patients don’t need to resort to crowdfunding for treatment.