All Canadians deserve pharmacare, not just MPs

February 17, 2018

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Sat., Feb. 10, 2018

The MPs mulling options for publicly funding medications will take their sweet time. There is no rush for them because they already have the type of publicly funded access that is being contemplated for other Canadians.

While about 3 million Canadians do not take medications as directed because of the cost, MPs and other lawmakers enjoy platinum medication plans for themselves and their families.

I am glad that our elected leaders have access to life-saving medications like insulin that was discovered in Canada and treatments for HIV-AIDS that extend life expectancy by decades. It would be absurd to allow our leaders to die preventable deaths while holding elected office.

But it is also absurd that other Canadians must either pay for medications or go without. The consequences of untreated diabetes include heart attacks, strokes and death.

 

Are we prepared to allow people who work as food servers, artists or small-business owners to die from treatable conditions? I know that our elected leaders are very important but the lives and limbs of everyone else are important, too.

The publicly funded medicine plans for lawmakers may delay the needed policy changes. MPs and other lawmakers are insulated from our frayed patchwork system, where some people have public or private plans but others do not.

Studies in the United States have shown that lawmakers who have children in private schools are less likely to vote for laws that support public schools. Canadian lawmakers may be slow to support publicly funded medication access for all Canadians because they would not be affected by the change — their coverage is already great.

Over the past 40 years, multiple reports have recommended public funding of medications. The recent witnesses that appeared before the parliamentary committee repeated overwhelming arguments for including medications in our publicly funded system. According to surveys, Canadians overwhelming reject the idea that access to medications should depend on your job.

Dr. Nav Persaud, family physician, Toronto

 

 

 

B.C. is worst province for drug-affordability: UBC/SFU-led study

February 14, 2018

PAMELA FAYERMAN
Published on: February 13, 2018 | Last Updated: February 13, 2018 4:25 PM PST
Vancouver Sun

Health Minister Adrian Dix said individuals with an income of $15,000 have been paying $300 a year while those earning up to $30,000 have spent $600 on prescription-drug deductibles. As of Jan. 1, 2019, they will no longer pay any deductibles. JOSHUA BERSON/HANDOUT NDP / PNG

Health Minister Adrian Dix said individuals with an income of $15,000 have been paying $300 a year while those earning up to $30,000 have spent $600 on prescription-drug deductibles. As of Jan. 1, 2019, they will no longer pay any deductibles. JOSHUA BERSON/HANDOUT NDP / PNG

Health Minister Adrian Dix said individuals with an income of $15,000 have been paying $300 a year while those earning up to $30,000 have spent $600 on prescription-drug deductibles. As of Jan. 1, 2019, they will no longer pay any deductibles. JOSHUA BERSON/HANDOUT NDP / PNG

B.C. residents are far more likely to face struggles with medication costs, especially drugs prescribed for mental-health conditions, according to a B.C.-led study published online in the CMAJ Open.

Analyzing the responses of 28,091 people who completed the 2016 Canadian Community Health Survey, researchers from the University of B.C., Simon Fraser University and two Ontario institutions found that overall, 5.5 per cent of respondents across Canada reported they couldn’t take their medications as prescribed because of costs. In B.C., the proportion falling through such cracks in the health system was highest, at 8.11 per cent.

Lead author Michael Law said there are two major factors that appear to be working against B.C. residents. “First, and most obviously, the high deductibles in the public (Fair Pharmacare) drug plan means people face significant front-loaded charges to access medicines. Second, the high cost of living, relative to other parts of Canada, means people have less available funds to spend on prescription drugs.”

Read more »

Patient Raves About Emergency Room Care In Princeton

February 14, 2018

 

Letters to the Editor - SS

Fast and friendly service at Princeton General Hospital

ANDREA DEMEERFeb. 14, 2018 9:44 a.m.

My name is Jody Graboski, and I own a place up in Tulameen.

Last Saturday, Feb 3 I had a bit of an accident with a chop saw and cut my forearm quite badly. A friend got me into Princeton Hospital within about 45 minutes of the accident, and I was treated for my cut right away.

The purpose of this letter is to thank the very nice and efficient staff at the emergency ward in Princeton. I could not believe how quickly they took care of admitting me, assessing my injury and taking care of it.

Time might have gotten away with me for a bit, but I think I was in and out of there within an hour and a half. That was with having to wait for the x ray technician to be called in after being stitched up, so they could be sure there wasn’t any further damage.

All told, I got 23 stitches inside the wound and outside.

If I was admitted to Abbotsford hospital, my hometown hospital, in the same time span I probably wouldn’t have gotten past the triage nurse. We actually joked that I might not have gotten my parking paid for in that time.

I would like to thank the staff there. They were very nice, courteous and helpful. As unpleasant as the whole thing was, they remained cheerful and kept my mood quite good.

The Town of Princeton is lucky they have such great people working on their behalf in the hospital.

Also should say thanks to my buddy Remo Maddalozzo for the quick trip into Princeton, and his wife Cheryl for phoning ahead on my behalf to warn them I was coming in.

Jody Graboski

Canada’s pharma companies disclose payments to doctors for 1st time

February 13, 2018

Critics say voluntary move falls short of any real transparency

By Kelly Crowe, CBC News Posted: Jun 20, 2017 9:38 PM ET Last Updated: Jun 21, 2017 11:31 AM ET

Canadians were given a glimpse at the millions of dollars doctors receive each year from pharmaceutical companies, when 10 of the country’s largest firms voluntarily disclosed the figures online. But critics are decrying the lack of details around those numbers. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Canadians were given a glimpse at the millions of dollars doctors receive each year from pharmaceutical companies, when 10 of the country’s largest firms voluntarily disclosed the figures online. But critics are decrying the lack of details around those numbers. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

CBC News/Health
Kelly Crowe

For the first time, Canadians have been given a glimpse at the millions of dollars doctors receive from pharmaceutical companies each year — though critics say the move stops far short of true transparency.

Ten of Canada’s largest drug companies voluntarily released information about how much money they give physicians, posting the disclosures to their websites Tuesday. The participating companies were:

•AbbVie Corp.

•Amgen Canada Inc.

•Bristol-Myers Squibb Canada

•Eli Lilly Canada Inc.

•Gilead Sciences Canada, Inc.

•GSK Canada (GlaxoSmithKline)

•Hoffmann-La Roche Ltd. (Roche Canada)

•Merck Canada Inc.

•Novartis Pharmaceuticals Canada Inc.

•Purdue Pharma Canada

But the companies did not disclose specific names, nor did they list the reasons for the payments. Some companies disclosed data for three months, others chose six months, and four disclosed payments for one year.

It was a disappointment for those who have been calling for greater transparency in the pharmaceutical industry.

Read more »

Superhospital public-private partnerships are costlier than ever.

February 13, 2018

The amount they’re asking for is way, way, way over what is justified … We, as a government, will not pay one dollar more than what was justified.” Gaétan Barrette, April 1, 2016.

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Quebec’s health minister, notorious for his tough talk and his tight grip on hospital finances, was adamant he would not yield to the private consortium suing the government for $330 million.

Led by engineering firm SNC-Lavalin, the consortium claimed it was owed that sum (which it later hiked to $360 million), on top of the $1.3 billion it was to be paid under a contract to build the superhospitalof the McGill University Health Centre. The contract — known as a public-private partnership — was supposed to guarantee that any cost overruns would be shouldered by the private partner and not taxpayers.

Yet less than two years later, on Jan. 8, the government announced it reached an out-of-court settlement with the consortium, agreeing to pay it an extra $108 million. That same day, Quebec declared an even bigger payout, $125 million, to settle a dispute with a different consortium that built the nearly $2-billion CHUM superhospital.

What the government did not reveal that day is that it concluded yet another financial settlement arising from the $939-million expansion of Sainte-Justine Hospital. That project was not built as a public-private partnership, and instead the government assumed the full risk of all cost overruns.

So what was the amount of that settlement? No more than $9 million, the Montreal Gazette has learned.

The irony of the settlements — a staggering total of $233 million for the private consortia tasked with keeping a lid on costs compared with a $9-million hit for the government in a project in which it took the full risk — is not lost on critics of public-private partnerships.

“Despite cost overruns, the government maintains better control over (construction) projects than the private consortia,” said Guillaume Hébert, an expert in public-private partnerships (PPPs).

To read more, click on:

http://montrealgazette.com/news/local-news/superhospital-public-private-partnerships-are-costlier-than-ever-critics

Primary Healthcare – It’s Time for Disruptive Innovation!

February 12, 2018

Essays October 2016

Open Letters

David J. Price

This letter is part of series of Open Letters from Canadian leaders in Healthcare. To see the complete series please click here

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As a family physician, I’m used to hearing intimate details of a patient’s life experience and after thirty years in this profession, there aren’t too many things that surprise me. And while I know that it shouldn’t surprise me, it still does when someone I’ve just met at a social function, on realizing that I’m a physician, proceeds to tell me the most intimate details of their recent medical ailment.

Lately however, I often hear more about their medical journey within the healthcare system. Although many include comments about how wonderful their own family physician is, too often I hear tales of frustration about the system within which their family doctors works. It often amazes me what patients will put up with. Anecdotes such as: “When I phone my doctor’s office I’m on hold for twenty minutes before I can speak with a receptionist”, “I seem to be asked the same question over and over again” or “when I phoned to have my sick baby seen, I was told that the next available appointment is in 10 days” are not uncommon. It’s amazing what we all will put up with from a system that hasn’t kept pace with advances in knowledge and technology, [all of which has enabled us to live longer, albeit often with multiple chronic diseases.]

Read more »

PharmaCare deductibles for low income families being eliminated by B.C. government

February 9, 2018

Global News – Health

February 9, 2018 2:02 pm

By Richard Zussman

Online Journalist based at B.C. Legislature  Global News

Adrian Dix

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix has announced changes to the
PharmaCare system.

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

The B.C. government is eliminating PharmaCare deductibles for families with net annual incomes between $15,000 and $30,000.

The move comes as part of a $105-million pledge over three years, with money that will also be put towards reducing the deductible on prescriptions for families that bring in between $30,000 and $45,000 per year.

“No parent should have to make the difficult decision between their family’s health and putting food on the table,” said Health Minister Adrian Dix.

“I have looked at the PharmaCare program for a long time and the need to address the question of deductibles have been an impediment in the ability of people to adhere to drug programs.

Read more »

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