As Canadians, we are proud of our universal healthcare system, which provides publicly-funded essential doctor and hospital care based on need and not ability to pay. Unfortunately, our health system falls short when it comes to prescription medication.
The newest report from Canada’s brand name drug makers on access to new drugs has one key message: compared to other countries, Canada goes slow and low. New drugs are slower to be covered by our provincial drug plans and the numbers of people who get access to new drugs are lower than in other countries.
Amalgamation always seems like a good idea. Greater Victoria has 13 municipalities, 13 councils, oodles of separate fire and police departments and multiple separate teams of garbage-persons, road fixers, parks maintainers and others that you need to keep our cities humming.
In Canada, only one in five people with depression gets appropriate treatment. And in Ontario, only one in three patients discharged from psychiatric hospitalization will get a follow-up within the month. Why is Canada doing so poorly in helping people with mental illness?
Employers in Canada spend an estimated 5 billion dollars a year on drug coverage for their employees. Yet, private plans are notoriously inefficient and they often cover higher priced drugs that are not necessarily better for consumers’ health, explains Alan Cassels.
A handsome man struts over to the office water cooler with a smirk on his face. When his colleagues ask about his weekend, he replies enthusiastically, with audio muted. A large blue pill appears with the tagline, “Viagra, Ask Your Doctor.” Vibrant, energetic older people are shown swimming, bowling and having a good time. With a twinkle in their eye, they suggest the viewer “ask your doctor” about Celebrex.
The Liberal government of New Brunswick appears to be stepping back from the brink of mandatory prescription drug insurance. And so they should.
Ontario spends $11-billion per year on prescription drugs. Nearly half of this is spent on medicines used by senior citizens, a group that receives public subsidies for nearly all of their prescription drug costs in Ontario.